Orbiana Oliveto

1. Frontispiece.

Recognition: that we live inside and outside. Light
corrodes both. Living bodies take shape from
corrosion. Olive trees tremble in sunstroke and shift
into phantoms. We are all pouring through our own
forms, and the house shudders. Who is safe?


2. Athena's Visit

Her sacred tree, the olive, rises like flame from
shocked earth. Visitation. In twisted boughs, at
evening, a new light plays. Tinder glance. Athena will
burn off his boyhood. To be ready to receive the guest
is to be flammable; is to step into a pyre; is to say,
let me be taper, flare, and ash. Is to say farewell.


3. Nestor's Heifer.

The sacrifice sends a message with gilded horns
tiptoeing among the gods. Blood jets from the heifer's
sliced jugular from time into eternity as old age
steps back, wiping gore from his axe blade. He has
sent a gleam into the darkness. The house door blazes.
Olive trees lean in toward the altar: they have
messages to send, something indecipherable whispered
as leaf whets leaf blade and the bark cracks. The sea
groans in its sleep.