Lion Felling a Bull | Robyn Schiff

I came upon a fragment, one
anterior lion felling
one anterior bull. I was in a
museum so can’t call
it life, but here I felt my life come down
upon my life and have something to say about
the continual downhill grade
of the path from the ancient marble
quarry the dark marble

here was quarried from. First with form
and then with stone, I came in love
upon a fragment and should have loved the
pressure most. I have a
mother and a query. I quarreled with
my father the day my son was born and am the
father now. As a girl I flipped
over my handlebars flying down
a different hill every

time. I had a childhood friend named
Jill and an anti-carjacking
device called a club I policed myself
with by thinking hard of
my membership in and a keen sense of
the end of belonging. I drove my car into
a house, my house into the earth,
and I’m grinding the earth into hell.
I want to be more true

to the material world. The
wild upon the bull, the chisel
upon the wild. But it’s either true or
it isn’t. How can I
be more than what I am. I want to stop
identifying with the caliper or the
marble, the lion, its marble
mane, or the meat the lowing cow watched
its mate become and be

the altering heat again. I
stood before the fragment and asked
what doesn’t want to be whole? I’ve never
found fragmentation as
beautiful as objects that survive the
fall of civilization intact. Half-lion
felling half-bull, I feel pressure
in the forms to conclude; a coming
storm; electricity

in the air; an intention; but
whose? I saw crudeness in the ware
of the marble and finished in mind with
the crudeness of something
itself unfulfilled. And then something else
was exhumed in Athens. All I needed to see
was an inch of hindquarter of
lion or bull to love the world to
its conclusion but a

second front entirely is
forming. Mythology is sweet,
but husbandry is history. The head
of another lion
rises out of the gridded pit having
nothing to do with symmetry. A colossal
miscounting of lions felling
a sole bull. Two irreducible
lions made of the same

material as me will come
upon me and the pressure that
made them makes more of them than it makes of
me. The pressure that makes
makes more of them than it ever made of
me. Out of proportion, out of the quarry, great
pressure is forming, a thunder,
I feel a great pressure positioning
me. It has no regard.