Negative Space

(Florence, Italy)

As I approach the piazza’s open-air gallery,
Bologna’s Rape of the Sabine Woman
thrusts above quarried stone —

Romulus’s warrior stands dominant
over the crouched Sabine man,
while his woman writhes from the victor’s grip —

flesh giving way where his hands clench,
her expression beseeching an invisible god.
Though the woman’s fate is defined

by the emptiness surrounding her, I recognize
the force of her body’s torque, pushing away
in a snakelike spiral, her soul,
impervious as the stone in which she’s held.