HEPHAESTUS SURVEYS HIS HANDIWORK
The arch was nothing:
hammer and tongs on iron
drawn from the ore of the mountain—
beaten strips bent, curled, cooled.
Harder to craft a woman
since Pandora though.
Long I spent
etching each line, deciding
curve of hip, length of bone.
But these times demand instant lives;
you see what comes with rushing?
This one's puked her flesh
right down to the bone; that one
can't remember where she put her mind.
And I've wiped out one mistake.
It seems she drowned
in the bathtub after lunch,
an old hand at letting go.
So, with her gone I decided
to place the arbor in your garden
and you, my fondest dream, my new creation,
walked beneath the roses grown
over metal, married someone else
just as Pandora did. Now
what winged thing
can rise from the vessel of my body
to draw light from air?
s u s a n r o n e y - o' b r i e n
p r i n c e t o n , m a s s a c h u s e t t s
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