Your Atlas

I’ll be your Atlas.
See my muscled shoulders;
my collarbone shines beneath
my skin.  See my straining
thighs, my knees bent and ready
to support a loaded back bent
forward to stare at the ground
for eternity.  I’ve been in training
for this strain, for the endurance
it will take –

                             Eternity is the shortest
distance we’ve ever had between us.
Remember I was a hermit once – the noise
and churn of the world behind
my head will be the greatest change,
an adjustment I might need.  Easier
to take will be the bloody places
where geography presses into flesh,
like a thousand knives or pins.  These
will heal and scab over while the chatter
will reduce to the sound of ocean
and the thrum of a billion hearts beating.

If I’ve guessed my peril right, this
is the day when you pass
it on, you’ll roll it off your own back
and onto mine as gently as so great
a weight can shift.  I will not be able
to witness the beauty of your face
as you stand upright for the first
time in ages, but I’ll already be regretting
this offer.  And in a few days
you’ll regret the loss of so great
a responsibility, but no return is offered.

9 Comments

Filed under lust and love, Musings, poetry, work, writing

9 responses to “Your Atlas

  1. Wow, deep stuff. After two reads, I don’t fully understand it, but it seems the speaker is taking on some sort of burden that he/she knows she will regret. And that is quite profound.

  2. Hey, I love this whole idea. Love it. There does seem to be something muddled about what the dilemma is between the two people. It seems the cliche is that helping someone with a burden or taking a weight off their shoulders would bring the two closer together but you seem to be decribing a great separation, that taking this burden will tear the two apart. I don’t know, something about the motivations or cause of that seems fuzzy. The image though is awesome, geography pressing into flesh, that atlas could be a real live person taking this huge literal weight of the world to his shoulders. I really love, love, love that. It’s powerful.

  3. Hm. and interesting conversation bent to this poem that I really like. It’s almost a dramatic monologue sort of thing.

  4. hi all…

    I agree that it is still a little fuzzy. I’ve been working really intently on a newer poem for the past few days and needed to push this one to the side for a bit, hence posting it.

    Right now I almost think the center stanza could stand all alone. and perhaps the part about being a hermit can be omitted. What do you think?

  5. Yeah, I would take out the hermit part. I don’t know if the middle could stand alone. I think you need the first four lines to start with but maybe cut it off at “ready” and then go to the 2nd stanza? Also, I was thinking maybe you could title it “Atlas” and then have it start “I’ll be yours./See my muscled shoulders…”

    I’m sure I could change my mind if I read it again, but that’s what I’m thinking right at this moment. 🙂

  6. The hermit part, it seems this is a part of the burden that is most painful, and I get the image in my head of the populated parts of the globe being the ones the speaker is not prepared for (no matter how physically strong a person is, the skin remains sensitive, it’s important physically and psychologically). The line before it about eternity is the one that threw me.
    It’s working, just needs a little tightening.

  7. I’ll be yours.
    See my muscled shoulders;
    my collarbone shines beneath
    my skin. This is the day
    when you pass it on, you’ll roll it
    off your own back
    and onto mine as gently as so great
    a weight can shift.
    The noise
    and churn of the world behind
    my head will be the greatest change,
    an adjustment I might need. Easier
    to take will be the bloody places
    where geography presses into flesh,
    like a thousand knives or pins. These
    will heal and scab over while the chatter
    will reduce to the sound of ocean
    and the thrum of a billion hearts beating.

  8. So, this is where it is so far. And I really like the suggestion about the first line/title, Jessica. So glad to have all of all of your great suggestions…

  9. ps. that the noise line is actually offset to the right, but the tab doesn’t work in this section.

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