The old masters write that only the most beautiful creatures
tame and shatter our souls, that the smile of a woman can save us
from our own hell or from another's purgatory
and that our world can crumble when our beloved
turns her shoulder or walks away,
and I respect the old masters, except on those occasions
when they are fools, proud idiots, and ignorant magicians.
Our inner selves are far more fragile than the old masters
ever imagined, weak vessels liable to capsize and sink
at a mere memory or a smell in the air that reminds us
of childhood loss or middle aged apathy or elderly boredom.
Our hearts are not glass, but the image of glass, painted
on cracking paper by the maddest of the old masters.
We break not at the dramatic, but at the whisper of the dramatic.