The Old Masters

Rebecca Hazelton

The Old Masters were right — we get what we get —
their paintings familiar to any girl
with a museum pass or t.v. set.
How women wait for wanderers in whorls

of crackling oil, or crawl onto a pyre
of sweet nothings, so Helen sees Troy
for the first time, and Cassandra names it fire,
and I, in my room at the London Savoy,

will feign disinterest about your wife and child,
and pray for breached barriers, your house in shambles,
myself an innocent, a foolish pawn —
for surely I was caught up, a sweet, mild
Danaë, infused with sudden particles
of gilded light, a reactor, rods withdrawn.