Volume 5, March 2012
Vermeer’s Woman Holding a Balance
Her balance is empty except for light.
Unconcerned with worldly goods,
she pauses. Gold chains
and pearls bright as poured milk
recede in the allegory. Christ hangs
on the wall outside her gaze.
Who could compare his damning hand
to her delicate calibrations?
For once, light symbolizes
the pleasure of a woman tying pearls
around her neck with yellow lace.
She sees the world in the garland,
all things held in common, and weighed
against the light isn’t enough to tip the scale.