Carlo Crivelli and the Trees

Playful, prolific, noted for
tableaux of bounty, he’d do a portrait
of a man’s face composed of fruit,
or picture his Madonnas under

garlands, bright as chandeliers,
of nearly three-D pickles, pears,
apples pecked by birds; then turn
even a gruesome Crucifixion

into a sort of game. Here: a
trompe-l’oeil in oil and tempera
replicates the look of wood on
a panel that is truly wooden,

in fact paints over knots to make
knots in the hard planes of the cross.
Real as a relic, the unique
tree on which one man-god dies