Katie Perkins
Katie Perkins

Our Alternate Lives as Sculptors

If I were the bobcat driver

and you the forklift operator

somewhere underground in winter

we'd have met in a constant temperature of salt.

Evenings we might have carved our names

and then an elephant,

or your favorite saint of miners

and explosives, St. Barbara.

We could've set her to work at embroidery

as she waited in her tower –

Or maybe St. Hyacinth,

that long fingered man,

he knew both of the cold and the dangers of drowning.

If we'd had water, it would've been brine

and being more than bones,

we could've been cured.

At night when we went to sleep,

we'd have wrapped ourselves under wool

against the pressure of the mountain.

And when the whistle would blow

at the end of the work week

we'd have stalled our machines at the bottom of the stairs,

in the snows drifts of St. Barbara.

As her features slowly decayed,

and tusks of our elephant receded,

we'd have carved out her likeness once again:

her delicate nose,

her upturned eyes

and her chalice empty, but poised

ready to be filled.