(Musee Beaubourg, Paris)

Observe these skewed haunches flaccid from
boredom, misuse, resignation.
Placed before the eye —
like a mass of slackened meat
waiting to be bought and undressed. Merely this —
to disavow compassion or what passes
for compassion?

The artist unsmiling behind his daubed shroud
conducts us like a figure in a solemnly
absurd nocturne, arrayed
in all the high themes of failure and contempt
a body can be made to symbolise.

The sermon over, what remains but to take up our
sins and eat them?