Daphne

Dear Readers,

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.

Thank You.

 

Daphne:

 

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.

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