Gift for Apollo

Aileen Bassis

                     —sculpture by Robert Rauschenberg
The oracle on Delos 
did not envision
this door hammered shut.
A wheeled door that’s no chariot,
but a door-thing chained to a bucket 
brimming with earth and ashes. 
Why this gift to Apollo?
A god, who longed for love
like you, like me.
Loved a boy 
transformed into a flower.
Loved a girl who became 
a laurel tree and loved 
a woman who betrayed him   
with another.
What gifts do any of us 
want when love is lost? 
Here is offered
an arm-wide band
of peach that’s not skin,
blue that’s not water, 
not sky, but perhaps
the remembered blue 
of hyacinths, their silky
touch like fingertips
on your spine.