Underneath the Pantheon

Everyone wants to touch a bit of mythology; a noble pursuit
until they rub my bronze body raw for good luck.
I never said I was a legend; they did,
Whispering behind cinder block columns
Where I could not silence the sin that coalesced under their tongues.
They did, in the lulls between mellifluous speeches,
Insulting in their belief that I am public opinion
And checked boxes on impromptu surveys.
I exist as nothing less or more than who I am-
Crooked lines and little white lies
And thoughts that keep me up at night,
Freckles and failures and
the ocean between my body and my mind.
Statues listen when I speak because they think
I know something about being alive,
When I've spent far too long in a crescent-shaped sleep
And those of stone and clay know more
About the thrumming energy of life and
the will to survive than I ever will.
Saplings bend to my shadow because they assume
I will cut them down in cold fury,
But I carry the same tenderness in my roots,
the same softness between my ribs,
I bleed salt and sand and soot when struck, too;
Identically, imperfectly human.
I am not ichor spilled upon the tabernacle of old.

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