Kolossos

                                        [Introit]

Thus whimpers Creature to Creator, ‘Is it
     an epigraph or an epitaph, this verse
     I wear on my heart like words ignored on a
     tombstone?’
Then, the Maker to the Thing answers,
     ‘Truly, the poet and the sculptor share the

     same aim, both striving to tame the pulse of life—
     to capture in static frame a fluid flame.’

                                        i. A Pity in Porphyry

Flakes of shaved grace litter the slate, weight carved from
     this granite’s face, and in its place a mistake
     of attention paid, just to make hesitate
     a heart fated to break, and in case the great
     sculptor misses it, you take time to remind

him of how fake I looked, and so he’d better
     put into his work some effort, and paint me
     more polished than a gem should be, the aim of
     both the poet and the sculptor—indeed, of
     the gravestone carver, also—the same thing: to

capture in immortal static the untamed
     spark of life before it fades, to say without
     a waste of a wealth of words what gratitude
     cannot enough be praised, that, for a nameless
     slave of such ill-fame, to have existed at

all is enough to pave the way for those shades
     of us who take our paths, and parade past what
     so soon fades, this legacy our only trace
     until time erases from monuments and
     mountains what we each, so foolishly, climbed to

                                        ii. Sub Rosa/Tabula Rasa

but failed to reach, those bruises and scrapes we both
     hid bleeding through to resurface with new hits,
     the summit a pinnacle the point of which
     world-weary winds cannot blunt, no matter how
     heavy their truths, wisdom elusive to me

until your knife proved any attempt of mine
     to move would, by your unkindness, be subdued,
     and my ascent impossible to pierce through
     heaven’s seven veils, so at your bust I glance,
     seven devils sent to dance, as if by chance,

on the horizon of a brow where the sun
     downs itself, plunging dagger-like into hell,
     the distance of your eyes—like mine—extinguished,
     torches too far off to travel to and with
     kisses reignite, and, shedding secrets, I

place under the rose what no longer matters
     in the night: these rows of verse which, without those
     petals of light, cannot be read, so carve on,
     cruel mistress, and cut from my mind its plight—
     litter the slate with flakes of shaved grace tonight.