Air cools in the built caves,
stones releasing breath
of salt and sea on Italian statues –
infant Jesus, Adam and Eve,
Moses clutching twin slabs
against his ribs. In gardens
of moonstone, seaglass,
stalactite plucked like fruit
from distant caverns, arches
and cupolas studded with stars,
I imagine the weight of trains
bearing these stones in 1912,
veins of jewel ripped from earth,
scrubbed clean until the priest’s hands
cracked and bled, each splinter
of rock – white shell, raw amethyst,
petrified wood – collaged
with sand in nine linked shrines,
rising without blueprints
from a sea floor older than prayer.
About the writer:
Sarah Burke recently earned her MFA in Creative Writing and Environment from Iowa State University and now lives in Pittsburgh. Her poems have appeared in Cimarron Review, Copper Nickel, Fourteen Hills, Midwestern Gothic, Passages North, and other journals.
About the artist:
Nick Friess, a former Green Beret medic, was wounded in March 1970 in Vietnam. He is a lifelong artist currently exploring the relationship between traditional and digital art forms as a graduate student at ISU. Nick has also been a farmer for 25 years.