here, on our left, a stack
of bones older than recorded history,
just to provide some perspective.
notice their color, which is neither
white nor yellow but brighter
and more subdued than either one.
through this door, we see
the birthing room: stainless,
antiseptic surfaces garlanded with
the soft nuances of mental association.
youth looks back on this last cape,
visible only a little while
on the outward journey
but forever memorable to mothers
and therefore somehow to a child.
just behind me, a wall of icons
shows progression of religious thought
from totems to ethical maturity.
in particular, note the influence
of consumerism on forms
and construction materials.
scholars suggest the abstraction
apparent in most of the later pieces
reflects a repudiation of mammon
common among high-level moralists.
as we pass through the next room
we encounter the framed window work
of irving yerlin along the far wall,
looking out on the lower east side,
added as a permanent fixture in 1992.
it was yerlin who said, famously:
“what is art except a picture
of a place we’ll never really get into?”
and, “i need my frames.
a frame tells me what’s important,
where to unleash my attention.”
from here, please feel free to explore
the grade-school refrigerator pieces,
multimedia room, seasonal exhibits,
and period dish collections
at a walking pace. painted lines
along the floor lead through
each gallery and towards the next,
bringing visitors at last unto the end,
which is the sea.


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