Laocoon Hidden

Georgia steps back and looks. She is white with dust, white her hair, white her clothes. The monster is half-emerged from the block, wide toothy mouth and muscular torso trailing off into cross lines and unworked marble. Its eyes are white, too, veined and unseeing, but large and moist and sad or cruel, she isn’t sure which. She bends before the monster, creaking, weary. The sun has set beyond the trees — the sky fills with clouds. It is bright and cavernous inside. The world beyond the windows is nothing.

Suddenly she is unsure. She is timid. The monster is dead; the flabby marble below its navel rejects direction. She lifts a heavy sledge over her head. She will smash, she will destroy. Giant-killer. The monster rolls its eyes at her. Its vicious face nor trembles nor wavers. The sledge traces irregular circles in the air. She sets it down again, and leans on the rough wooden handle. The names of monsters roll through her and into the marble. She thinks of Ixion and the cloud, she thinks of stringy-haired kappa, she thinks of unnamed creatures she has seen floating in formaldehyde. She thinks of snakes. She thinks of Ray Harryhausen. She thinks of Tiresias. Her body jerks.

She has fallen asleep on her feet. She runs her fingers through her hair. A cloud of dust puffs into a halo. Her eyes are gritty. She stacks her tools against the wall. Click goes the light as the door closes. The night seeps into the windows. The trees pool across the glass. The monster watches the wind blow from east to west. It thinks of nothing at all.