Post Apocalyptic Museum Lovers
Post Apocalyptic Museum Lovers
Grecian Urn for Lovers
Morning light creates a chandelier through the cracks in the ceiling that illuminates a Grecian urn displayed in a glass case. Under the soft but insistent light, the pottery is embossed with Apollo pursuing Daphne. His rod is still risen to defy millennia of censorship.
My curious maiden turns my head. While she explores the scene we share our voyeur’s gaze. Her eyes travel the length of his Apollonian manhood giving rise to my own response. Her fascination for the anatomical detail becomes my piquancy until her poise of Hellenic Greece sends my Argonaut on a quest to weave the wool of her golden fleece.
I tell her, “I was married and she may be out there somewhere. It feels adulterous to look at art this graphic, especially in the presence of a beautiful woman such as yourself.”
The room is even quieter than when the only sound was the air conditioners blowing through the vents near closing time. The noise of her lifting the translucent cover from the vase breaks the silence. She carefully places it on the floor. Then she traces the design which stands out in relief with her fingertips. I feel both angst and wonder as she leaves her prints on the artifact. But when her hands go where her eyes had been my gaze focuses on her touch upon the ancient man’s readiness for the capture of his womanly prize. Then she strokes his woman pleaser with the delicacy of the artist when he painted this vessel for posterity. With a pregnant pause, she lingers at the root where he grows ponderous from the weight of manly desire.
This pendant dangles under her touch as a talisman for yesterday’s progeny. She pines for his potency with the religious fervor of a born again pagan. She buttresses his Cathedral of manhood with symbols of the love she longs to bestow if only she could breathe life into the clay. He was born by fire in a kiln instead of by water in the womb. In so doing his rod is harder than that of a mortal yet too brittle for the caprice of an errant hand. Yet her fleshly stylus touches his testicles whose fragility is that of Robin’s eggs from which nestlings are born.
Rowena’s hand moves like a Ouija board pointer to make contact with the Daphne figure. Her art appreciation becomes an exercise of poetic license. Ro tells me, “I translated Ovid in college. But I took liberties in deviating from a literal translation. Here is an improvisation on a theme from the Roman poet:
“‘Please let me go. My slender body would break under your weight. I am but a reed while you are a mighty oak.’ She sees the pale moon glow reflected in his ebony eyes. A crow caws high in the illuminated treetops. Daphne runs through the night forest like a specter. Her silver lace robe blows in the wind.
‘If you stop following me I’ll hook you up with a nymph worthy of your affections. You deserve more than my scrawny sketch of a Lass.’ He follows her, the warm breeze leaving her face wet. Splashing through a stream, the cold water chills her feet. She eludes him like a dream forgotten or some hazy childhood memory.
Daphne says to Apollo, ‘My youth makes me a flighty girl whose affections are inconstant and not to be trusted. Besides your candle is more than I can handle. But such speech stokes the flames of your desire.’
Like his Siren, Daphne sails through the forest on winged feet. His legs carry him toward her, having reluctantly won his heart. He wants her more than life itself; to once more taste her sweet lips; feel her warm breath on his neck; her cool fingers on his fevered brow. But she is swift like lightning as she leads him through the piney maze.
Suddenly Daphne disappears into the moonlight shadows. He tumbles across a log. He lies defeated. His passion unrequited he feels the sting of loss like burning coals against his delicate skin. His face is pressed into the wet leaves strewn beneath him in a soft rug. His bare thighs are scraped.
Daphne’s spidery fingers let him feel her tickle his spine. Turning over with a groan he looks up with his dark eyes that sparkle in the moonlight. Her aquiline face is silhouetted against the soft yellow glow. Her dark eyelashes are traced across her almond eyes. Looking down at him hungrily desire is written in her smirk with lips full and generous and open. She hears him sigh as she sits, cradling his head in her lap. Her fingernails scrape his scalp as his face relaxes. ‘Do not be swayed by beauty for it wilts with the first frost. Instead, find an oaken woman steadfast when the icy breath of winter blows.’ finis.”
He replies, ‘Your gem is more precious than diamond and even the tryst I fancied. My animalistic urges are not befitting a God and would be curtailed if only I knew the way.’”
I tell my Rowena, “Apollo gets hip to the reality that having the hots for a woman doesn’t make it cool to chase her through a forest. Thereby her tragic morph into a tree is averted. You recited the story as though you were Daphne herself.”
Ro replies, “I’ve walked in Daphne’s sandals many a mile being pursued by unwanted suitors. But there is something altogether exhilarating about being bird-dogged by a man. Let’s reenact the scene from the vase. You’ll be Apollo chasing me as your Daphne.”
I reply, “The horoscopes couldn’t have matched us better.”
She says, “Are you being sarcastic?”
“Heavens no we got lucky in the celestial lotto.”
She says, “I am a magician who hides my Queen
of hearts that is my heart by a magic trick from would-be suitors.”
I say, “Between your Queen of hearts and my King of hearts we’re well suited for homemaking.”
She replies, “A house of cards easily falls down with just a blown kiss. Who will turn me into a Laurel tree to escape the provocateur? Let’s see who can sprint faster. I’m off.”
She laughs at first but then runs down the hallway. She hides in shadows but I smell her fragrance and find her. I tickle her until she stops pushing me away. She darts past art deco, cubist, impressionist, and abstract art galleries. But her flight takes her into a pitch-black room for the camouflage of darkness. I trace the path closest to where I last saw her. I say, “Come out wherever you are.” She swishes past me like a falconess on the move with me on her heels. Finally, I find her beneath a Degas painting out of breath and too tired to run anymore. She says, “If you’re determined to have your way with me I’ll be a good sport. Who am I to stop you?”
I say, “I’d never take liberties with you.”
She says, “But I’m a willing accomplice.”