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Upon Visiting Galileo's Finger
by Jeffrey Ingram

This is no mere souvenir. Galileo's
venerated digit, the skin
grown gray and bone-flanged
from centuries of refusing to bow
down before Rome's empty vessels.

The sun's orbit about earth
was never good form for worship.
Still the sentence set: Lifeless closet,
toiling dark years in papal requests—
abjure, curse, detest all heresies—denied.

The one who severed this illustrious finger
free. Loyal patron of relics
pointing toward immense space,
was this merely your need for a keepsake
set atop a mausoleum
long overdue? Or the desire to somehow
direct even a small corner
in The Great Master's historical traffic?

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