Restorations by Rebecca Morgan Frank


A man took a hammer

to Michelangelo’s Pieta,

breaking Mary’s nose


in three, fragmenting

her fingers, leaving shards

at tourists’ feet.


Someone rescued her

eyelid while someone else

stole a tiny chip of her, then


later sent it back. Outside

San Leandro’s

church, St Felicitas stood,


stoic, as eight bullets pierced

her plastered body.

The vandal’s aim marked


numbered fury at sacrifice.

In a Nagasaki cathedral,

bombed Mary’s eyes turned


to crystal, the only survivor.

She watched

everything destroyed


around her. Full restoration

is impossible when

dealing with the flesh, but


we had always hoped our art

would be immortal. In grief,

we feel the wounds become stone.



Rebecca Morgan Frank’s fourth collection of poems, Oh You Robot Saints!, is forthcoming from Carnegie Mellon in February 2021. Her work has recently appeared in The New Yorker, The Kenyon Review, American Poetry Review, Poetry Ireland, the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day series, and elsewhere. She is co-founder of the online literary magazine,