Aphroditeby Donald Kuspit
Terra Cotta Figure, Middle of the 2nd Century Before Christ, Asia Minor
not a sign of suffering
in your beauty,
however much you've lost
the hands that once aroused Adonis.
no trace of sadness in your eyes,
for no mortal is irreplaceable.
the gods have no need of charity,
and give none.
your breasts are always full,
but they have no milk to give.
you turn from worshipping eyes,
your body self-glorifying.
draped in transparency,
your nakedness is self-sufficient.
covered, your loins remain eternally enigmatic,
except to the chosen few.
your expression is unchanging,
making your flesh more enthralling,
you won the prize of perfection
from Paris, but you never perfected love,
unless making love to Mars
enabled you to do so,
his violence more to your taste
than the timidity of your husband.
caught you in the net of his cleverness,
broke your hands off
for betraying him.
never again could you embrace
mortal or immortal,
leaving you loveless forever.
you and he were now made
for each other,
for you were both crippled.
you became this leper of clay
wasting away in a museum,
another deceiving work of art,
only able to be brought to life by love
but unable to return love,
and so always betraying love.