Etruscan Love Song

By | 1 March 2017

Give me your best archaic smile
the one that others think to understand

though truly mute
and private since you know

we were or are or will be is not here

This is a likeness
reconstituted after shattering

A thing and a thing
standing in for what’s
without beginning or ending
only returning

without release

Steam does not escape but is condensed
eventually and falls and starts again

Yet see how our eyes are done identical
familial and general the jewel’s
‘particular lustre’ lost

my feet so bound and laced and trussed
I must be up again and moving
no time to lose eternity to keep

Your feet are bare your terracotta flesh
is hairless universal just that single nipple

speaking death’s coldness life’s arousal

Likewise my hands are empty what they held
ointment or object is of no more use

Except to the gazer who by shape
and by gesture imagines us

As we are elsewhere
on the outside uncontained

In response to Sarcophagus of the Spouses, terracotta sculpture,
1.4m x 1.9m, late 6C BCE, National Etruscan Museum, Villa Giulia, Rome.

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