This is very much a work in progress. Because I am pulling from classical myths and baroque art, I wanted to spend some time getting all the images in before I returned to the prosody. This is mostly a listing of those images. Haven’t written a piece that required research in a while, and it’s nice to get back into the old stuff.
In bed we lay admiring the canvas of our skin
fingers tracing marks like the lines of a play
so long in memory the recital feels dry.
Mine seem silly and always self-made:
a gravel scrape on my knee, the chunk of chin
that once shut down a skating rink, or
my forehead’s constant reminder
not to back-flip in bed. Each one worn
as a badge of boyhood done right.
Your left hip bears hash-marks from
the burning grill where you “fell” at five,
stretched to spider webs by twenty more
years of living. From there your laurel tattoo
grows up your spine to blossom around
the cigarette burn left by the same babysitter.
I thought I carved you from the stuff of my dreams,
some sort of ephemeral marble masterpiece,
shifting and translucent with abalone eyes,
ears like pink pearls that catch the light
in a thousand tiny shimmering sparks.
My baroque beauty, I thought you were mine
because I dreamt about you, because
that’s how dreams work.
When I wake, you’re still here
breathing in a way Bernini would never see,
with a life long-lived before my dreams began.
I want to hold you
but you’re already half gone to bark
changed before I ever met you by burning hands.
The theme is resilience, and your burns now
shell your skin. Your pursuer was no lusty god
and so he’s rooted instead. You may be ever
green and never fading, but lines untraceable by
fingertips run deep.