In 1481 Jean Bourdicon painted
fifty rolls of paper with angels
on a blue background. The guild
of paperhangers had not yet
been born. Nor the cabbage rose
the arabesque patterns
that covered my grandmother’s wall.
I was the kid who worried
the wallpaper, tearing strips in the dark –
in the morning my hands full
of shredded roses, not knowing
who placed them there or why.
King Louis XVI made a decree
that the length of the wallpaper
should be a continuous thirty four feet.
All those angels, not one
held back my outstretched arms.