We stopped seeking the Etruscans
amid the old, lonely thoughts
and assumed them absorbed
and dispersed through the larger stock
of the Romans as they spread
across their burgeoning empire.
The study of God, god, gods
fell away as well, this terra cotta notion
of in-grave kings and queens,
this riverine country of shoulder length hair,
the blackness of coffee a more perfect measure
of morning-afters in Winter.
What time is it to you, now that your ghost towns
have names in a forgotten language?
What day are you the lioness? The gazelle?
The small black spider with red markings?
Yes, you are slim enough for apples,
a serpentine appellation when you dance,
for night dark chocolate to alter our poetry.
But, the fact that your hand searches the wall
by the door for a switch, a light, the static glow
of molecules in excited motion
suggests something I can’t quite place my finger on,
the index key lost to the translation
of alder trees after the fire.
copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney