. Quattrocento On the Fresco “Madonna del Parto” by Piero della Francesca, Monterchi, Italy, circa 1460 We file into a silent darkened room. Now, a stagelight floods the wall to show bright colors of a rediscovered fresco. Our eyes adapt to preternatural gloom. Twin angels grasp a fur-lined tent, reveal a stolid young woman soon to give birth, left hand against her side to support her girth. We imagine the Savior’s kicks that she must feel. She's not high Heaven's pampered aristocrat. Her face is classic Tuscan, seen everywhere. Pealing bells inspire unceasing prayer, prompt recitation of her Magnificat. A distant mirror, yet still reflecting true: equipoised Madonna, the realm Piero knew. . . Cruel Grief Fetus floating in the womb. Do you know ‘twill be your tomb? Feel the cold steel suck and slice. Where to hide from Hell’s device? God made you with holy breath. Silent scream: can this be death? No harm in it. Life so brief, Shrug it off. But now, cruel grief Like slow poison steals and seeps. See this mother howl and weep. . . Mary Jane Myers resides in Springfield, Illinois. She is a retired JD/CPA tax specialist. Her debut short story collection Curious Affairs was published by Paul Dry Books in 2018.