KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 12: Summer 2019
Ekphrastic Poem: 276 words [R]
Visual Art: Painting [R]

Place Me Like a Seal Over Your Heart

by Devon Balwit

Place Me Like a Seal Over Your Heart..., painting by Lorette C. Luzajic

Place Me Like a Seal Over Your Heart for Love Is as Strong as Death
(Mixed-media painting, 2015)

Copyrighted © 2015 by Lorette C. Luzajic. All rights reserved.


Workmanlike, I lift the hod, set 
it on my back. Show me 
what needs doing, and I will, as stolid as 
a draft horse leaning into the yoke. Many mock me as a 
simpleton, but I bear willingly the original seal 
laid on Adam, to work by the sweat of his brow. Upon 
me falls the same injunction. Let it be done to me, according to your 
word, I say. I find pleasure in sweat, in the pounding of my heart; 
decades have made maul and trowel as comfortable for 
me as my own hands. The sawblade sings my love 
for the thing done well. What is 
finer than the crossbar true beneath the level, the strong 
fence, the well-joined table? As 
a father, I pray my children outlive me, but neither shall death 
rob me of what I’ve made. I feel jealousy 
before the cathedral, Stonehenge, the menhir. Behind them is 
my twin, separated by time. It’s cruel 
that one day my hands will tremble, that I’ll only watch as 
others labor. The 
trick will be the reachable task, even the preparation of my grave; 
as my world contracts, I’ll survey the spot, map its 
length, dig it deep, shore it up. Only in flashes 
can I imagine what comes after, glimpses that are 
swallowed as quickly as they come. Only in flashes 
can I set aside fear and trust that the god of Eden will know of 
my nature and either smelt me anew in his unquenchable fire, 
or craft me otherwise, making me more like a 
candlewick, most 
comfortable when consumed, even by vehement 

—This Golden Shovel poem was published previously in Risk Being / Complicated: Poems by Devon Balwit, Inspired by the Collage Art of Lorette C. Luzajic (CreateSpace, January 2018). Poem and painting are reproduced here with permissions from both the poet and the artist.

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