Say I meant to burn each kiln into metal--
The copper plates I’d have buffed
And beveled and coated with a surface
Like the blacktop on backwoods roads.
That I meant to render each overgrown
Mound of fieldstones eroding there
Like some vine-choked Mayan shrine.
This would then be a kind of restoration,
Setting each stone in place by hand,
Learning to see, like those before me,
The chipped specific edges and the way
They fit together, row on top of row.
On each of my plates I’d hachure lines
To catch the way its kiln has settled,
Etch the creosote left by wood smoke
Where stone’s been calcined into lime.
I’d run off my series of artist’s proofs,
Their inked sequence of ruins,
Check how each kiln’s been rendered,
The ledged weeds and creviced nests.
Ruins the variations on a theme,
Like the tumbling alleys in Tenochtitlan.
ROBERT GIBB’s books include After, which won the 2016 Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize and Among Ruins, which won Notre Dame’s Sandeen Prize in Poetry for 2017. Other awards include a National Poetry Series title (The Origins of Evening), two NEA Fellowships, a Best American Poetry and a Pushcart Prize.
The Ekphrastic Review
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