Her Burden Doesn’t Go Silently into the Civil Dawn

It was not my choice
to collapse, says
the bridge in pieces
on the west

bank. A strip
of purple light
strikes a pose
across her face. And

she wonders
how it feels to drop

guilt so easily
on vacant land.

Gargoyle or Caryatid

Crouched above
you, she holds
everything against
the mantle and flicks 

lit matches,
narrowly escaping
your exposed
proud flesh. I could be 

her before another
renovation after rain.

Roadhouse Revisited (Day 365)

She will answer her own question
with another question wrapped
inside a brilliantly clean
pattern of reds, blacks, gold— 

a pattern bleeding into another,
into another without end. “Will I
make it to the roadhouse
without dying tonight?” Spotting 

an unraveling of the veil
of delusion, she picks beautiful silk
threads off the floor
where in desperation she knelt 

to ask for help. Another weave in deep
ocean blue overlays the red,
the black, the gold. Indefinite articles
worn loosely over shoulders 

could warm Caryatid to release
her boulder, to recover
her posture without a pose.
And so she does make it
to the roadhouse tonight 

for a cup of hot black
light roast breathing
free—divine for now.

Rodin’s Caryatid

Bronze pillar come down to rest
your arms upon your right knee, bow
your head toward that knee
beneath the burden 

of your stone. Your robe
has fallen, a bundle upon your left
thigh, a foot exposed,
arching taut as a dancer’s.
You would be lovely 

outside those gates of hell
should you one day risk
standing. Bronze is a liquid
when boiling. You would be
lovely without that stone.

Caryatid’s Offering

Suffering gratitude is a burden
she will carry from the well
to the fire in a vessel
upon her shoulders—
understanding spilling
like new wine speaking

in tongues to the warmed earth.
She endures the gift exchange
of her clan, a ruby-colored cloth
passed between women till one declares
it will be torn
into a deck of cards 

made of erotic fiber.
Small swatches for young men
to pick from, each choosing
randomly until one last piece
is left for the one who has waited
to learn love 

with the woman who witnesses
an exquisite act of destruction
in every gift there is.