I am your masterpiece in stone.

An age—old obsession shaped
with chisel, mallet and rasp
transforming beauty to flesh,
so that you may have me
dance on raised platforms
from sunup to sundown—
lost in city slum shadows of noon
and pyre—bright night markets,

face painted to hide alabaster
skin and cracked lips—
mended and broken several times,
providing the rouge used
to color the sunken cheeks
and pasted smiles I flash
devotees laying offerings
in a metal box at my feet,

forcing me to bend before
the bed that is your pedestal—
bowing beneath bones of men
to get my share of applause
you swore will earn me a husband,
head served on a silver platter,
blindfolded and bound to
a ritual of clamped mouths where

I am brought to my knees
to learn the face of every hard rock
thrown and embedded in my flesh,
mapping stone paths that will lead
to the temples that created me—
so that I may carve my name
on every post and lintel
until they finally crumble

into the dust that fills
my hollow structure.

Rachel Rueve Barroso—Jamiro

About the poet: Rachel Rueve Barroso—Jamiro resides in the Philippines. She received her law degree in 2007 after an undergraduate degree in Philosophy received in 2003. Since submitting this poetry, she has become a lawyer, a wife and mother. The poetry in Earthshine, Vol. I, was her first publication. Her work has since appeared in the 2008 Offline Anthology, 3rd Edition.