Apollo and Daphne

Leigh Camacho Rourks


One day, you will find me climbing
a stool in the Galleria Borghese, stretching  
until my body/my face/my breasts/the notch
in my hip above where hands settle
presses Daphne’s.

She, the offset mirror. Turning
ribs/turning edges/turning hard
parts digging into mine. My fingers
cool into marble hair, search

for the way that, the place that
her locks (lifted by wind/magic/
father’s love/Bernini’s chisel crashing

the mass of what was/of what
she was/of what the story was),
the place that her locks become
wood. Interrupted.  

To block Apollo, I will wrap my body  
across her side/I will cocoon
her there/I will stone myself around her
there. Safe, I will whisper  
to her/to me/to you/to us, pushing

my cheek against her marble
as if against tears/kiss her softly, my mother’s
kiss/feel her wild eyes touching mine.  

I will slip out of these shoes/this heavy body  
like rock/this thing that weighs. I will wrap  
my toes around/around/around
and into her light,  

stone curves, the strange thinness
where bark circles bone,
find my place

in her stone, reach upward/find her fingers
in the leaves/leave my flesh there/my chest
there against hers. Still/Quiet/

If you look, you will find me,
my skin become wood become stone.


Leigh Camacho Rourks is a Fellow at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where she teaches Creative Writing and American Literature. She is a recipient of both the Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Award and the Robert Watson Literary Review Prize, and her work has been shortlisted for several other awards. Her writing has appeared in a number of journals, including Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, Rhino Poetry Journal, TriQuarterly, and Greensboro Review.