For Robin Elizabeth Black
I must move the stone, she says,
though it is a mountain with no footholds,
an island girded by ocean, and she has no idea how.
For millennia, nothing.
Swish of sand indiscernible beneath tides.
She cooks intricate soups,
fragrants the house with apples.
Stories tendril out a window
she left cracked.
She ushers her children
out into the world, welcomes them home again.
Then time empties out and she is
alone (her husband thankfully occupied,
the dog flopped down on the couch, nonplussed).
Clothes compost the bedroom floor.
She reads Ovid—
Pygmalion loves his statue to life
but oh, is she ungrateful! Who is he
to breathe life into her? You think I need
She remembers when her first child was a baby,
lavishing kisses and coos on her warm head
as a woman stood over her scoffing.
She knows stone won’t move
on its own.
Arthur fled to Avalon, Isle of Apples, to heal his mortal wounds.
She arrives ready,
drifts through grasses, touches bark,
bites into an apple that grew of own accord and, feeling no shame
sends her words out into the air—