Lesson on the Greeks
My student opens Tattoo Magazine and shares—
I don’t know what to say about these things
why a man turns his back
into canvas and asks the tattooist
to prick his skin until it bleeds
until like film in chemicals
Cerebrus, the guard dog of the Underworld,
appears between his shoulder blades
ready to pounce on his next kill.
I want to know what woman wishes
to wake up next to this fierce creature,
this cannibal, this carnivore
staring at her with his six fluorescent eyes.
How can I speak to my students of beauty
or symmetry of Greek temples?
I counter with postcards of vases
graced with black figures of the gods.
She dismisses all antiquity
and dreams of young boy’s tongues
and does nothing to hide
the desperate purple marks
polka dotting her neck.
Will it ever matter—
the leaving of lovers on Naxos
the small boys outwitting numerous monsters
Heracles killing snakes in his crib
when a decade from now
ziplocked in fringed leather
and poised on a Harley,
she will wedge herself
behind her tattooed man
pressing her breasts
into the open mouths of the terrible dog.