I saw the statue of David
and I loved him (from afar).
His towering beauty, refined
features -- firm hands, strong
nose, wide eyes that I wondered
would be as pale and bright
as the afternoon sky -- inspired
primal want that twisted instinct
(am I predator or prey?).
My eyes traced his marble thigh
as I remembered: his is but a statue;
we were not meant to touch.
Immortality: built to last, like the Roman Coliseum.
A first century monument to humanity’s achievements,
to Nero, to the strength of linen clad Romans,
with travertine arches that withstood fires and earthquakes.
Mortality: bones and blood, like Nero himself.
and those who followed him until there were none.
Our breaths follow the rhythm of our internal clocks,
ticking down the hours until we fall into cold dust.
Immortality: tastes like sermon promises of Heaven;
shines like morning light through cathedral stained-glass,
mesmerizing and tantalizing, hope that our breaths
will stick to the world like black ink on scritta paper.
Mortality: tastes like dried leaves and scattered roadkill;
shines like morning light through hospital windows,
reminding and tormenting, months and months of hospice.
Our bones are not travertine, our blood is not Holy water.
A crisp ocean above my head carries
grey sailboats, lined by sunlight;
and the wind against my flesh carries
autumn on its back;
and the leaves become soft musical
chimes or dancers on the streets;
and the greenery around me stretches
upward while half-buried;
and somewhere between soil and sky
there is a whisper of revolution--
a faint, yet sonorous vow
of renaissance and wonder--
and the sidewalks under my feet
are guiding me there, lined by sunlight.
I used to think love was a heart attack;
seconds of anxiety that drag along my heart
like nails on a chalk board. Pain, longing,
warm lust that makes me run in circles
as if I were chasing my own tail.
I used to imagine that my soul mate
would dance into my life, tapping their feet
over my bones. It would be like lightning
hitting the ground, shaking the earth,
electrifying my atoms into euphoria.
Then I met you. And it wasn’t like that.
There was no heart attack, no nails scratching
my heart. No pain. No anxiety. No lust.
There was no dancing, no lightning blasting
through my body. No fear. No startle.
Love is like walking home on a rainy day,
stepping through puddles that seep through
my socks and shoes until I open the door
to remove my wet clothes. I sit under
a heavy quilt by a crackling fire.
My soul mate -- you -- sit next to me.
We hold hands and watch the flames dance.
And when the storm rolls through with
growling thunder and violent lightning,
my heart beats steady, my bones feel still.