Jo Mills

Aphrodite’s Smile  

movement on the waters
semen of a god catches flying foam
beauty born, pale curves of
hips, luxurious breasts
vicarious pleasures founded on
her Botticelli smile

in the land of plenty, nips and tucks
pursue elusive time
pursue effortless grace in
delusion, bloody scalpel trails
rigor mortis skin stretches
slippage on the satin face of
CGI celebrity, ignores this
bruising loss

postmodernity’s cool embrace;
signifiers float on swells
of evasion, tumble under
medical magician’s white-gloved
sleights of hand, waiting
the fall of seed
watchdogs, indignant, expose
surface lies, false media cries,
chagrined, impotent, shout denials
of the Quest

for perfection, relentless
holy grail, desperate longings
cast at Aphrodite’s feet
votive candles burn, spill residues
of prayers, mix with scarlet
on operating tables, surgical
steel, ether’s ice oblivion
the goddess hides her smile, serene
only passion lifts the corner of her lip;
while mortal insecurities blight
her fragile imitators
she remembers
how Leonardo’s brush
caressed golden curls, potent
androgyny’s glow radiating
subtle composure, proportions
enshrined in the golden mean

she draws her gossamer veil
what balm to soothe the ravages—
age’s runnels, webs of fissures
gracing antique faces, limbs
eschewed by lost societies


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