He points the chisel on the stone and swings the mallet at it,
pounding until marble slants, curves,
resembling locks of hair,
the rounded edges of wings, feathers
rippling on a man’s back, disappearing into skin.
A quiver at the hip, missing
the arrow that pricked the skin and roused Psyche
watching his hands and seeing
(at times, his nonno’s hands and the workshop)
her fingers touch the god’s head, lightly,
not wanting to hurt him but still wanting
to feel him, real before her.
An act he knows she needs
to derive pleasure.
The marble block has been abated.
Still he chips for wrinkles
where the bodies fold. Rasps
it smooth to be just like skin and sinew
for beauty, for the burst
of passion he can call true
because he is a stonecutter, artista commissionato
like his nonno
and the father he never met.
Stephanie Shi is a writer and, more recently, a community manager. Her works have appeared in 11 x 9: Collaborative Poetry from the Philippines and Singapore, The Achieve of, the Mastery: Filipino Poetry and Verse from English, mid-’90s to 2016, Heights, Plural, and High Chair. In 2014, she won the Loyola Schools Award for the Arts for her essays. She is based in the Philippines.
The Ekphrastic Review
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