Lion Felling a Bull

I came upon a fragment, one
            anterior lion felling
                        one anterior bull. I was in a
museum so can't call
            it life, but here I felt my life come down
                        upon my life and have something to say about 
the continual downhill grade
             of the path from the ancient marble
                         quarry the dark marble

here was quarried from. First with form
            and then with stone, I came in love
                        upon a fragment and should have loved the
pressure most. I have a
             mother and a query. I quarreled with
                           my father the day my son was born and am the
father now. As a girl I flipped
             over my handlebars flying down
                         a different hill every

time. I had a childhood friend named
              Jill and an anti-carjacking
                           device called a club I policed myself
with by thinking hard of
            my membership in and a keen sense of
                          the end of belonging. I drove my car into
a house, my house into the earth,
           and I'm grinding the earth into hell.
                       I want to be more true

to the material world. The
             wild upon the bull, the chisel
                         upon the wild. But it's either true or
it isn't. How can I
            be more than what I am. I want to stop
                        identifying with the caliper or the
marble, the lion, its marble
            mane, or the meat the lowing cow watched
                       its mate become and be

the altering heat again. I
          stood before the fragment and asked
                      what doesn't want to be whole? I've never
found fragmentation as
           beautiful as objects that survive the
                       fall of civilization intact. Half-lion
felling half-bull, I feel pressure
            in the forms to conclude; a coming
                       storm; electricity

in the air; an intention; but
            whose? I saw crudeness in the ware
                       of the marble and finished in mind with 
the crudeness of something
            itself unfulfilled. And then something else
                         was exhumed in Athens. All I needed to see
was an inch of hindquarter of
             lion or bull to love the world to
                         its conclusion but a

second front entirely is
            forming. Mythology is sweet,
                          but husbandry is history. The head
of another lion
              rises out of the gridded pit having
                          nothing to do with symmetry. A colossal
miscounting of lions felling
            a sole bull. Two irreducible
                        lions made of the same

material as me will come
            upon me and the pressure that
                        made them makes more of them than it makes of
me. The pressure that makes
            makes more of them than it ever made of
                       me. Out of proportion, out of the quarry, great
pressure is forming, a thunder,
            I feel a great pressure positioning
                        me. It has no regard.

Copyright @ 2014 by Robyn Schiff. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on September 15, 2014.