"Bronze Age Helmet" by K.E. Duffin

The brow permanently furrowed in worry or alarm.
Impossible to bellow through the mouth’s vertical dagger.
Eyes scrunched so close as if light would harm
the very concept of sight. Two boars who stagger

at your cheeks to sniff the scent of meat on your lips—
all of this metallic bluster undermined and denied
by those flower buds curling their incised tips
where rust begins around your vanished side

with its borders of herringbone so daintily stitched:
“But I’m-not-Herakles,” is all you knew
when shimmering droves, like so many scissors to snip
the thread of your life, clamored like doubles toward you.

Columns shivered in the sun, and then were still,
turned to russet and verdigris on a hill.


—"Bronze Age Helmet " from King Vulture by K.E. Duffin. Copyright © 2005 by the University of Arkansas Press. Used by permission of the University of Arkansas Press.