Thursday, November 19, 2015

November 19 -- Kim Roberts

The Getty Villa, Malibu, California

I thought of you, recovering from your surgery,
here where the scent of rosemary hangs
in the air, the smell
of invulnerability.

For the hide of the Nemean Lion
can't be pierced by weapons.
He clutches a knobby club in his left
and the lion skin in his right.

The lion still has its teeth,
its claws, the curl of its wondrous mane,
and Herakles stares at the wall,
contemplating his next victory

among the distant hills,
his penis missing, his torso perfect.
Herakles wrestled the lion, strangled it,
skinned it with its own claws--

the first of his twelve
fabled labors--then wore it
like a magic shield
atop his heroic shoulders. 

Getty built his Herakles
a temple with a coffered dome
like the Pantheon's,
and a view of the Pacific.

How I wish I could give you that pelt.
We, who are merely human,
our shoulders soft and bare,
have such meager medicinals.

“The Landsdowne Herakles” appeared in Animal Magnetism (Pearl Editions, 2011)