My mother never
understood how, after the first time
(when the earth cracked and the blackness,
like a magnet,
dragged my feet down to the ore)
how after that, I went by myself, how
every October the pears rotting on the ground
blocked the way down, how
I burrowed under the brown fruit,
found my way, tunnelling through loam
past bedrock, drawing nearer and nearer
to the fire. In the light of flame
veins of silver, clots of gold
fed my eyes,
my hands glowed scarlet
as I held them toward the hearth.
I never could explain him to my mother,
how I set up my own forge,
had my own hammer, tongs, built
circlets of rubies, diamonds, topaz.
He didn't nag like Apollo,
always saying "Look at me, look
up, look into my eyes when you
speak." I could carve all day.
Neither my mother nor her
brother ever understood
I went because I wanted to,
year after year. They never knew
that was how I was able
to return each April
to find Narcissus, and to feed
my brilliance to the breeze.