You want me chiseled,
the way George Washington rises in granite
above the palaver of his countrymen,
in hairspray.
               How will hammers transpose my features,
               edgeless as a ghost?
               How in rock will they elaborate?
You want me sketched by compass,
as Vitruvian Man,
angles on a field, proportions of equivalence,
fleshed by degrees.
               How will the draftsmen discover my motions,
               like a flicker at her hollow trunk?
               How may paper and pencil recall the skittish?
You want me photographed,
the way Avedon posed celebrities with backdrops,
platinum chloride on matte,
risen superior, then, to dilettantes.
               In a darkroom, in gloves and goggles,
               how will they pull my image from a pan of poison?
               How will they capture my contrasts,
               moon without an earth, overwhelmed by light?
You want me caricatured in ink,
as by Al Hirschfeld, his NINA
cleverly hidden in Sunday memes.
               How will the caricaturist accentuate my clumsiness,
               my attempts to be seen?
               How will they hide my name?
               In a gimmick, an ambivalent sleeve.

Organs and Gold

I don’t pray near gilt-edge pages, or edges of volcanos. 

History tells us,	the gods were hungry. 

Beasts and other 		people were food.

The Xaratanga and Xiximes, g/God/s ate them regularly, 

often to death.

But	 all deities gorge on their own creations. 
Aided by warriors and priests. 

What do ours eat? 

We do sacrifice men. We sacrifice women. 
Everyone sacrifices 			children. 

To a higher power with a mandate 	for infinite growth.

This is what our deities eat 	and we feed them. 
We also eat the food of the G/g/od/s, 		if we can. 

I blame the deity/ies.

None of this would have come to pass without perplexity—
in brains untrained 	in the art
of dancing with terror like a life-size doll. 

I blame you.

When, for relief, your perplexity gets screwed-in to a kingdom, 
all of winners and losers. 

If from its refuge you mark targets, reject refugees from war.

This is why I don’t pray near gilt-edge pages, or edges of volcanos. 
Nothing pacifies g/God/s like the smoke of our organs, and gold. 

On Clytemnestra

She was a house burnt down,
children first, 
	fruit burst
	on the hill of Mycenae.

Knives and swords, 
the murder of an
	infant and another,
		a daughter.

She proceeded 
		to receive death, 
			it’s said.

To receive death?
		Is it given? 
	Is it offered? 
		Is it borrowed?

If so, (and who in the world can say) what is slaughter?

About the author:

Raised in Minneapolis, the 4th generation on Positively 4th St., Deborah lived many years in Chicago, and is home in Colorado. Her poems, four of which have award recognition, are found in several journals based in the US and Europe. She has led and written widely on behalf of non-profit organizations at work in the US and Mexico. More information may be found here:

Photo by Peter Ivey-Hansen on Unsplash