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Me and Aphrodite and the Other

ISSUE:  Summer 1985
She doesn’t move and she is stronger than I am.
She makes sounds like winter. When I plead
that I can’t hear, she doesn’t hear
because of the power coming out of her.
She isn’t pretty. Her strength is by will.
Her mind is kept small.

Maybe those months on the mountain were too much.
Aphrodite loved me and I loved her back.
Taking her pomegranates each time I climbed
that starkness. I would search all day
in the heat and would sit finally happy
in the shade of the fig tree with what
I had found of her scant, broken treasures,
the goat bells clattering around as I looked
down through her light to the Aegean. In a daze
of weariness, reverence, and clarity.

Now this older one has come. More ancient,
tougher, less complete, and as fine as can be.
She has come thinking I am strong enough,
though I sit on the curbs crying
without knowledge, without control.
Sees my mouth open and my agony.
If she can, she will destroy my life.
If she can’t, I’ll try again to be married.


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