Isabella holds a bowl, uncertain if the world performs
rituals as old as those unfolding as she turns the urn,
its crude people inked oil even thick-spilled night’s span can’t rival.
As if Hell had a cold portal, an opening her hand’s warmth
with its silkiest tenderness could caress, its drape unfold,
in a spell of boldest urgency, she would enter and burn;
sacrificing herself—her purest innocence—to learn if
ancient dying was worth trying, since paintings forever live.

Intuition folds a shawl, a curtain thickest for her charms,
into it falls a heavy lid which kept the vessel from harm,
since it isn’t the vase, but what’s in it, weighting survival.
It’s a burden, full of cruel intentions, that the girl yearns for;
a mystery frost-fingering her mind, unmentionable
lines of lost poetry triggering memories: Minotaurs
craving her chaste lips, letting her chase after them with a thick
blade meant for wasting—shedding for its tasting—blood from throats slit.

In a swell of chutzpah, girl-unvirgined tilts the horde toward
her chewed nails, claws opened, and scrapes its gaping mouth; the jar’s heart
stopping from flowing out what was thrown in, and she goes tribal.
If love was all a girl wanted, man would be certain of more
than what he’s fallen for, when beds once were all universal;
none of this, ‘Put it in,’ just two souls drinking in forever,
since man-and-woman, and man-and-man, were each apiece crafted
to be immortal forms, moments made to inform us when wed.

Chemicals call up to her, wafting, ‘Isabella,’ long ago coffined before
all was so sour, when mortals were asking, ‘Will you tell us more?’
Curiouser, she fists her fired clay, taking what little
morsels of truffled truth she unearths, remains of which she snorts,
pouring forth, as in a solstice birth, fragments of some verse we’ll
misinterpret, finding in it false worth: a son unconquered
set in hollowed stone, hallowed once murdered, a re-throned convict
known to shepherds by alias bones, his counterfeit relics.

Isabella falls to soil, down farther, in an urn her arms
refuse to let go of, called off by its spirits to martyr
her modern shell, peel all its flesh, and return to the temple
this barrel reloaded. Best to fire home what she had unlearned,
a blast to initiate her, splatter patterns past her veil,
and wake her; taking from her sleep manger scenes, gifting to her
instead, less-dangerous, more-vivid, living dreams consciousness
covets to inhabit: images of her as a godhead.