It’s said that Caravaggio was a creep,
A pedophile to be precise, the kind
Who lurked near schoolyards, and one who assigned
Apprentices to bed for more than sleep,
A tavern brawler, too, who had to keep
Fleeing from enemy and legal bind.
(A fever, though, could not be left behind.)
Biographies with such an arc come cheap,
The mystery of his subsisting in
How one undone by drink and leaded paints
Could see in less than forty years—despite
His looking through a glass smudged thick with sin
And no less clearly than his pictured saints—
The piercing of the basest depths by light.
—J. D. Smith