Making Magic: Beauty in Word and Image features 16 poems that visitors can listen to at “poetry nooks” in the exhibit. Here is one by Nancy Scott:
Beauty prepares us for justice…
Beauty arrived at the courthouse in black, sack black,
hair pulled back in a bun, no makeup. She didn’t speak
or smile, fooled no one. Bone structure is bone structure.
She was seated next to her attorney, grey suit, dark tie.
He’d taken the case pro bono because, just two years
out of law school, he wanted the exposure, her exposure.
She lowered her eyes so the judge had to address the top
of her head, a head that turned heads on any street,
a billboard-size head with a smile she’d pocketed for now.
The State had waited until the last moment, the moment
when her lover, whom she’d stabbed in the abdomen
twenty times, would die, so it could charge her with murder,
but he was last seen charming his way onto a private yacht
with a tall redhead, the same redhead he was diddling
in the flower shop where he’d gone to buy Beauty roses.
Beauty pleaded not guilty. Judge, she said, he brought me
roses every day, every day we made love on a bed of petals.
What was I supposed to do? He stole inside me like a thief.
Then she smiled a smile that so bewitched the judge,
he dismissed the case and sent the jury home.
You can also listen to the poet reading her own work as you read the poem. What do you think about this poem? How do you think it relates to the theme of beauty? Please share your thoughts with us!