by Belinda Roddie
Your face was forged from fire:
your smile is too hot for me to
touch. I'd strip the layers of iron
from your skin if they didn't strip
the skin from my unsteady fingers.
You were born from an angry anvil,
the hammer that shaped your body
doing nothing to temper your ragged
soul. You burned the whole place
down and let the blacksmith swallow
the smoke of his own creation and
destruction. At long last, you found
the armor that fit your flesh best.
It fastened itself to your own steel
sternum. Your rib cage ached from
the weight of your heart. Valves
forcing flames through arteries
hollowed from the skeletons of
older swords and tanks and cannons,
their tongues and swollen lips melted
and reformed into your apparatus. In
another universe, you would be
a sculpture for the gods. Hephaestus
would have held you to his chest and
made you feel love. Quiet, warm love.
The kind that softens your sharp
and forbidding angles, your corners,
your gears that make your eyes blink,
your hair stand on end, and your laugh
ring like the chime of a clock tower
forcing the hour upon my little world.