Saint Matthew’s Rectus Femoris by Nathalie Kuroiwa-Lewis

Saint Matthew’s Rectus Femoris
by Nathalie Kuroiwa-Lewis

After the men had condemned 
Caravaggio’s picture of Saint Matthew
with the poofy-haired angel
I wish I could have been there
to smoothen the creases beneath the eyes
to tell Caravaggio to not despair
to have confidence in his wares
that for all intense purposes
he had gotten it right
drawing the extensor digitorum,
rectus femoris, 
and gastrocnemius
at just the right plush and brawn
composing the toe
like a fleshy dart
showing off the pulsing underside of the foot.
For Matthew’s physique
needed the tightness it did
to do the kind of lift and pull and trekking
required of the gods.
And about that dangling angel—
I wish I could have told him too
that Saint Matthews
needed the warmth of the body
(the soft and full of zesty closeness 
that chances once in a millennium)
like an endless flow of robe
made of galactic lights and gold
the vibrations required—
before the hunching over 
and tearing of tendon from muscle
and breaking of bone on bone
that comes when the Work 

Hear Nathalie Kuroiwa-Lewis recite the poem on the Viewless Wings Poetry Podcast:

Five Poets Recite (Nathalie Kuroiwa-Lewis, David Holper, Connor Simons, Norma DaCrema, Linda Drattell) Viewless Wings Poetry Podcast

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Nathalie Kuroiwa-Lewis is a Professor of English at Saint Martin’s University, a private, Benedictine liberal arts university located in the Pacific Northwest. She is also a board member of the Olympia Poetry Network. She is published in periodicals such as The Madrona Project, The Wild Word, and The Tiger Moth Review, among others. Nathalie currently lives in Olympia, Washington.

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