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Lorenzo Lotto's Annunciation


Other approaching Gabriels offer the lily

In a ceremonial hush to humble girls

Who bow their heads or touch their breasts.  She whirls

Away as the angel runs in willy-nilly

And sinks to one knee, hair streaming—as if he hurries

To get there ahead of God, who stretches His arm

From a cloud in the doorway, while the striped cat scurries

For shelter, its tail an elongated S of alarm.


Hands raised protectively, she turns to look

Straight out at us—in shock, or mute appeal?

Forgotten behind her lies the open book.

In the tumult of the divine turned terribly real,

Only her face is strangely still, the eyes

Wide with apprehension and surmise.


Catherine Tufariello



From Annunciations, Aralia Press, © 2001; first published in
Italian Americana.
  Reprinted by permission of the author.


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