Only bones remain (a poem)

An ekphrastic poem, inspired by a photograph by Yang Xiaobin:

Overlapping frames
obscure the path to Heaven

reveals it is still there

but the cracks in the emulsion
cast doubt on the timeline

The impossibility of the task
is evident from every angle—

and the amber patches of dried blood
left by past failures

Every brushstroke
hides every brushstroke

the solvents did not touch
before evaporating

(29 August 2016)