On rocky Delos, no births or deaths were allowed
to desecrate the spirits of the stones—
but how did the keepers tell the dying
the departing boat had arrived?
Gaping lions, eyes gouged by wind,
guard the empty air where temples
to Artemis and Apollo once stood,
a matrix, now, of marble cubes in sand.
How many gods worshipped, how many turned
to stone, or sunk beneath the weight
of myth and centuries?—the painted women
of Atlantis on a wall, priestesses in a row
of blue, sandaled feet about to step,
icons bearing vases with uncertain contents
to even less certain deities—
lost in the rising of new volcanic gods.