The Scream by Edvard Munch (1863-1944)
Never ceases to amaze.
Stealing The Scream
by Monica Youn
It was hardly a high-tech operation, stealing The Scream.
That we know for certain, and what was left behind--
a store-bought ladder, a broken window,
and fifty-one seconds of videotape, abstract as an overture.
And the rest? We don't know. But we can envision
moonlight coming in through the broken window,
casting a bright shape over everything—the paintings,
the floor tiles, the velvet ropes: a single, sharp-edged pattern;
the figure's fixed hysteria rendered suddenly ironic
by the fact of something happening; houses
clapping a thousand shingle hands to shocked cheeks
along the road from
to Asgardstrand; Oslo
the guards rushing in—too late!—greeted only
by the gap-toothed smirk of the museum walls;
and dangling from the picture wire like a baited hook,
a postcard: "Thanks for the poor security."
The policemen, lost as tourists, stand whispering
in the galleries: ". . .but what does it all mean?"
Someone has the answers, someone who, grasping the frame,
saw his sun-red face reflected in that familiar boiling sky.