The Opposite of Pygmalion
She’s breaching the limits
climbing the scaffolding
hauling herself up poles
rolling over the lip of the kick-board.
My hands race like a card sharp
trying to confuse the eye
not wanting to let her off the plinth.
I don’t want to release
this unlovely construct into the world
slithering over edges and ladders
filling space with clammy earth.
As fast as I squeeze her
between my fingers
she gobbles air
grows out of my reach.
I try stuffing what I can
back under the cloth or into the bin
but she stretches
breaks away like over-rolled dough
till I sit in a litter of ripped tarpaulin and gobbets of clay
coated to the elbows in grit-pitted fleshly slip,
cold with guilt for the future.