portion of artwork for Alexandra Isacson's poems

Naked Religion
Alexandra Isacson

To Camille Claudel and Auguste Rodin

In thumbed-print of wet clay they shape posterity.

Auguste sculpts Camille lips spread,
she is the Iris,
the axis mundi.
Bronze spills from her edges,
his feathering touch is enough.

Once a brother in the
Fathers of the Holy Sacrament.

In his sunlit windowed cathedral,
nudes dance and move—
shameless chamber music.
Marble is burning desire in their hands.

For ten years their works blur and waltz.

Later Camille is the Gorgon,
a stoned mirror.
During fits, she breaks and splits
her terra cotta vessels
collects cats
throws everything at him—
says he has stolen her art.

In asylum for three decades
she does not create—
without clay beneath her nails,
she is only the lingering dust
settled in the memory of his studio.

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