For Nadya Ginsburg—
Could marble move its cough’s immutable chill,
you’d marvel at how stone falls at will, healed ills
chiseled from a soul until silenced, hell’s heels
split like monoliths from this cave’s glass ceiling,
shattering bad habits, thought’s patterns lifting
with gods’ withered arms sicknesses worse than love.
Foraging a forest’s outskirts for lost love,
with blistered thumbs my palms blush mistrust, lifting
from red earth your talent dusting dusk’s ceiling
with cold shadows cast low, thrown out by bronze chill,
coins for an underworld’s ferryman your heels
crush like shells or pills when passion swallows ills.
Drinking in your vision, your sculpted tomb ills
onlookers whose sepulchral thrills burn their heels,
foregoing caution to glimpse within, sin’s chill
rushing over them when I speak of how love
buries men indifferent to guilt, sealing
us as we seek to deceive fate by lifting.
Pleading while excavating, I ask, lifting
to surface ancient sentiment, why ceilings
and walls collapse when resurrecting my love
for you, why doing what I do makes you ill,
vendetta’s daggers icy eyes piercing chill
through me not until I’m killed, but lick your heels.
Muddying knees, bending in filth, gripping heels,
its fists reach up and undermine midnight chill,
hell’s thick breath reeking over monuments ills
your face’s stone cures with kisses, lips lifting
from certain death we fools who pine for your love,
your golden touch Midas himself tried stealing.
To a sculptress, pleading, hitting that ceiling,
know that what I speak I should be screaming, love
not enough for some, but mortals die lifting
this feeling, these bones needing what wings on heels
keep from them, fleet-footed beasts flee the heart’s ills,
ideas eluding angels’ quills’ falling chill.
What, then, becomes of beauty’s truth when, lifting
from eternity a clue, dog-like I heel
for rising stars like you who unleash this chill?