Properzia de’ Rossi’s peach stone sculptures
You must lean close to see us
for we are almost invisible
and have been taught silence as a virtue.
We are carved, virgins, saints,
upon the bits you spit out
the pits of plums and peaches
hidden in the withered, crinkled stone.
Primed potential. For look –
how the tiny, the unseen, take root and grow.
The Madonna flings wide her cloak
revealing many shouting faces –
eyes wide, lips open to devour the world.
no border on the ocean
we lie flat upon the sand
crabs scuttle sideways
in the wrong direction.
You slide into the waves
teeth glinting silver
flesh marbled by the water
that salt tang shivering
on your lips.
Seaweed belches its tangled smell,
clings to your legs
a tattoo spray.
Message in a secret tongue.
When did it begin to feel like a dream?
That cutting edge of loss
for one who is not gone
but remains feet dredged in sand.
It was I who plunged back
into the cold waves
and could not find the shore.
RCJ Allan is a poet and teacher who originated in the North but has drifted South. Her work is often preoccupied with memory and an attention to place. She has been published in magazines such as Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Interpreter’s House, Artemis and Brittle Star.