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.