An Object for the Sun God

by Robert Salley

and she ran away

with a violence

stabbing at her knees and feet


dissolving into the wetness  

of winter air


her face, now

only a 3x4 snapshot

lost in a sea

of other imprisoned moments


on a living room floor


I can move the thin

flat pile; searching

but all that is left is

a memory of soft blue eyes

and medicine that won't heal.


this one was abandoned

a splinter

left under the skin

pushed out by protective flesh

over timeā€¦

over pain and infection


it peels apart

and shows off the insides

a place where secrets

are stored; protected

away from idol hands

in the back pocket

of frayed blue jeans

and a forgetful mind


in here,

past drawn curtains,

and stain-glass windows,

she can see me


on my island of the past

holding each picture
up to the light
like an offering
objects for the Sun God


“not this one”

“nor this one”


it's the one

with her arm

around my neck

our two wild smiles

and the statue

of Nike

in the background

headless and
wings spread out





reversed back to blackness

and I remain the madman


of images; of a face

ten years younger

than it was