Venus Looks Coldly Over Her Shoulder

I dread morning, wanting only
to lie back in the wire-cold night
with the boy who lives in the house beyond.
But my feet wear sandals made of cement,
and my eyes, faded of paint, gaze 
over my shoulder and past my love
as though I cannot see him.  

Each night he comes to my garden, lifts
the heavy heads of roses, oblivious
as I twitch my heavy robes aside,
exposing a breast by uncertain magic.
But what would he want of such a breast,
chill as a store-bought egg, skin austere
as a grave marker
worn smooth by rain and years? 

And then as dawn intrudes,
her sticky fingers pulling him
out of the rosebeds and onto the path,
I have no arms to console myself with
nor can I turn my head
past the rise of my own shoulder
to watch him go.

1995 Jenniffer L. Lesh
California State University


Copyright 1995- 2021 Ostenta Fine Arts and the author