Daphne And Apollo - Poem by Ross Cohen
I could never compete with you
Lightfoot, skipping across the moss
I crashed through tangled woods,
Ripping roots from the earth,
Snapping branches, clearing a path by force.
You were a speck in my eye,
Just visible behind the vines;
A mirage on an empty plain.
I could never see you directly,
I could never sleep where you had lain.
I had grown accustomed to the dip
And dive of your back cutting
Through the clearing where,
Panting and parched, we stopped
For a fatal moment.
You turned. The war
Between flame and stream,
Between you and me,
Swelled to crisis:
Your skin cracks and grays
Like cooling embers; the ground surrenders
To toe-roots; thighs stiffen and petrify;
Bark works its way up
To the bole-knot in your stomach.
Shoulders and arms explode
Into clouds of flickering green and gold.
Soft shrapnel litters the ground.
Sitting beneath the sole tree
In the forest’s barren place,
I sift through the leaves
For the memory of your face.
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