It was almost closing time, and the keeper
jangled his keys on his rounds.
Late afternoon shadows recessed deeper
into the gloom, and the night’s first sounds
were tuning their pitches. I saw her enter,
uncertain in the light, or rather, lack
of it, walk down the centre
of the long marbled passage to the back,
where I was. “Five minutes, lady!” I could hear
authority sing across the dark corridor,
as she stepped up closer to peer.
She caught her breath, though more
through beating the clock than awe,
I thought. She knit her brows, gazed intently,
and in the minutes given to her she saw
what the blind centuries had failed to see:
not love-light in a statue’s eyes,
but history’s finely sculpted lies.