The Six of Calais


My love of sculpture, I proclaimed in the garden,
is a love of dick-shaped beef

By leading men, by espalier
the trees were being trained

         into a perfect diamond gate on the wall.

Like a vine? but it's not like a vine;
a vine is guided from all sides
         & so mostly free

I think this is called crotch angle

We just walked in,
& cornered the Six Burghers of Calais

They seemed to writhe & twist, accused
         (others drew near too, one with leather shoes)

Imagine a thousand ocean liners
roughly the weight of Deimos,
the Martian moon
         which is not spherical
         falling through space

Some things shouldn't happen.

I thought of that man at the Bluebird Diner...

How he might be cheating on his wife
not with women but with food,

Stretching his insides
And like a bugler cool the dead with his breath.

I hate the flat black shapes, Calders

I hate sculpture!


I'm what you bump against
         standing back
to see a painting or a sackcloth

I'm a bad-luck human, Philadelphia
I need great works.

The strong bronze palm & thumb,
         his cheek engorged like a bobbing planet

It's cast, not ground down or swole up;
         I touched it.

Callie Garnett is the author of the collection Wings in Time (The Song Cave), named "Best Poetry of 2021" by the New York Times. She works as a senior editor at Bloomsbury Publishing and lives in Philadelphia.