Ain Sakhri Lovers
“considered to be 11,000 years old and to be the oldest known representation of two people engaged in sexual intercourse” Wikipedia
Legs locked like arms in embrace.
Each head seen from the side
a mushroom shape like your secret self
squeezed in your grip
about to contract and release its own gravity.
Hands on a pinchpot
fingers coaxing a drinking vessel
a soup bowl a shallow dish
in which one dips driest bread
to an edible softness. Edible
softness being what we want from everything.
These stone lovers chipped
in stone with stone
after the artisan ate antelope meat
pried from the jaws of the hound-hunt.
How was he to know
before he left the pair in a puddle cave
that thousands would see
or fail to notice his work
amid thousands of artefacts?
Here are the things that made sense
of the world—hieroglyphs unlocked
and panopticons sorted
like shards by size and colour dumped
from an unscrewed kaleidoscope.
What wonders of the world blaze
in any museum that we push past
in the crowded guide buzz and camera hum
hurrying home or to a hotel
where alone or with another
we embrace or ignore our own bodies
ashamed of words
like cock or cunt or come
the parts we squeeze or prise
only in the dark
the parts we wish
would last past ourselves
past the dark
freed of glass-grim museum casement.
Gary Leising is the author of the book, The Alp at the End of My Street, from Brick Road Poetry Press (2014). He has also published three poetry chapbooks: The Girl with the JAKE Tattoo (Two of Cups Press, 2015), Temple of Bones (Finishing Line Press, 2013), and Fastened to a Dying Animal (Pudding House, 2010) He lives in Clinton, New York, with his wife and two sons, where he teaches creative writing and poetry as a professor of English.
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