Lapis Lazuli

by Joshua Ascherman

If material, mythical. If the marble slaves escape 
you know it’s hexagons all the way down.
If you can’t imagine accident, you have
blue earth, blue sand beach—gold flecks
are shells, are fossils. I delight
in pigments, bells and trinkets, all small
human things. At the water whose stars
are inclusions, downwind on the beach,
the moon is a grand old air bubble, and the sand
is almost all things in the world, bubbling inclusions.
If I learned what I’m supposed to mean,
I hope the stone’s the same.
If cosmic, stars: bottled light, foam,
very old things. If the marble slaves
exist, perpetually escaping, they exist 
as stone things in the world,
not somehow melted stars, as it turns out
not even really cosmic.
Do you prefer additive or subtractive
things? If additive imagine a plinth
adorned with rhinestones—
if substractive, low relief. If chiseled,
one polygon at a time. I wonder
what the gods prefer.
If metaphor, look around, outside. There could be
other pieces of shimmering rock.
At the blue sand beach two Chinese citizens
are re-enacting a rock that’s bubbled up with stars,
it’s massively violent, violently unconvincing.
I delight in overturning clumps of sand
to look for stars. They’re studs in an abstract thing, 
my hand. If they snag, they snag.