She is only a memory.
The men crowd at her feet as,
I am told, they always have,
But now without flowers.
Now they bring tools and machines to do
Things tools and machines can never do.
One uses a swab to brush dirt from her lips,
Revealing the remnants of an ancient smile.
Another, uses a small pick to clean the cracks
Running up her legs and arms.
The restorers work diligently
To preserve what is left, as best they can.
Perhaps as they work,
The men wonder what she looked like
All those years ago; when she was new.
Cut and painted with love by her sculptor,
Her body was born in dance,
Her right hand brandishing a spear of victory
From some forgotten war, or love.
The men work and wonder what has been lost.
Or maybe they do not.
Maybe it is only a job.
Now, centuries removed from her time
The men scramble to prop her up,
For whatever reason.
Her dance has crumbled into a writhe,
And the arm that once gripped a spear
Grips nothing, only reaching out.
Her eyes are blank, old dust.
The colors faded years ago.
The men have done a good job
Keeping her this way.
Jonathan Soboleski lives in St. Louis, MO. Writes occasionally.