Statuette in the British Museum
Found in a grave near Athens
Little coquette from the underworld,
eidolon: draped in the latest Phrygian mode
your chiton's stained with muted
but still gay Aegean blue.
combed to a psyche knot under
a wide-brimmed hat—whom
were you hurrying to meet
when death overtook you?
Restored to light
you draw your cloak
tight around your waist and maiden breasts.
Your rounded arm gleams rosy-brown.
The weight of more than twenty centuries
floats mild as dust in a glass case
on you, smallest immortal.
Caught in mid-gesture, like a finch
glimpsed in a thicket,
you view the fate of blood and breath
with flickering shades of doubt.
But I—oh in my grave
I want just such a soul
of clay, dressed
to go out.