“Aphrodite”

by William Greenway




Ha!  So you are, after all.
Just found out about that grandpa
in Paxos, did you? I knew it,
called you Greek so many times
when your black ringlets
and olive face hovered over mine.
Although, okay, I admit
I also called you—depending on
the candle-, summer-sunset-, or winter-snowfall-
light through the windows—Mona Lisa,
superimposed upon a sepia Tuscan landscape,
or a Gauguin, especially when nude, lying
on your brown belly, almost a bloom
of orange (your favorite color)
frangipani behind your ear,
flowered sarong cast aside and lying
on a bamboo floor.

Me? I’m still Welsh-
white, a poor man’s Burton
or Hopkins who only gets you
in screenplays: Bathsheba bathing
on the roof, an aged Menelaus
before Paris comes along,
Mr. Christian after he steals
the Bounty.

But two years, and all have tried
to part us, foes, friends, the
circumstance: they thought
mere age and its differences
of time would matter,
but we’ve shattered all their creaking
wisdoms.

O, Salome! Dance
for me the seven veils again,
and I will give you any head
you want.

O, Love! How could they
have so badly underestimated
all your predestination.

O, clear-eyed Eros! And not your little
blind-folded Roman archer friend.
It’s how you know
that all is right and true:
when it’s not a choice you’ve made,
but a choice that has made you.




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