Finger of the Goddess

by Bryce Milligan

I took the finger of the goddess,
broke it from her statue
in the shadows cast by years
so dim now they cannot be told
from those before, from those after.

Before we learned to bake the clay
I took the finger of the goddess
not the one wrapped in red carnelian
nor the one set with sea blue lapis
(I am no mere thief ).

As though it were her gift to me,
it lay fragile yet fresh in my palm.
I took the finger of the goddess,
crushed it to the finest white powder
and dissolved it in good barley beer.

I cannot remember the dissolution
of my own flesh in the desert
It has been ages and ages since all that.
I took the finger of the goddess
and have grown thin, a voice chanting

her names on the wind, singing her fame
as the stars spun in their long blur.
All but the stones and I have forgotten
her grace moving by the river where
I took the finger of the goddess.