Portrait of Petroklos
after Ron Prigat’s “Ken Looking at Caravaggio”
The shadow cast from a single lantern is not biblical,
Though it is indistinguishable in proportion. He is
A symphony exploding slowly at first, in shifts &silently.
A meticulously petalled crescendo, brimming with
Vibration. His breath, a plié stolen from the blackness of
Caravaggio; a merlot-lipped recitation of Cavafy under
Black lace. The black of scriptures that bleed when you touch
Them. Silhouette as the naked black of an observer on his
Neck. His eyes glister gold-as-riverlight, an expression
Old as the earliest form of wonderment. A pleasury,
A seance, gossamer-white flamelicked and split
Up the center. His vanillin abounds. A furrow beneath
Mourning. A psalm of Achilles’ horses. On his brow,
a covenant with any creator willing to listen.
Roberto F. Santiago is the author of Angel Park (2015)—a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award in Poetry—and LIKE SUGAR (Nomadic, 2020). He received an MFA from Rutgers and MSW from UC Berkeley. Recent work appears in Apogee, Foglifter, and The Ninth Letter. Roberto lives in San Francisco.