Landscape at Ruined Delphi

by Katherine Pyne-Jaeger

When there are hands where 
no hands should be it is like this: 
the bruises on an oracle’s chin. 
Faith, a small nervous motion 
of the throat: gone. The mouth slack,
hung with laurel. Being compelled to see
is a grueling history, a red sway-backed 
procession of days through the desert.
But necessary. Most things are, even if
they take convincing. The Acropolis was
a monument to ego, a temple of the men
who said: there is someone to blame 
for the universe closing in on us. A claimant
of the future. Its builder said: necessary
or I will be executed at sundown. Perspective,
you understand. The shame is inside you too, 
small hurricanes moving in your back muscles. 
The hand gestures to the sky: a question surfacing.
The body sits on the naked steps and drinks
from a kylix. Like wilted flowers bruises 
make stains in the water.