Anactoria’s Cry

I traced her name into the swirling brown dust,

and it came out loud, and free, and infinite — 


on a clay tablet, on a hard patch of earth… 

Till papyrus, colored stylus,

pulses bright

as the woman in the flower field.

Before, I did not know the name, 

I did not know of sleepless nights,

sacred fires, 

girls who dance on wet grass.

But she came to me, 

pudgy grapes in slender hands,

violet hair and olive skin… 

And she touched my lips,

with the taste of wine, and pomegranate,

and honey cake stuffed with fig.

I was not Sappho’s schoolgirl — 

men and schoolgirls are for figments

wine, pomegranate,

honey cake with fig;

when there were 

sacred fires, women who danced on wet grass

and we burned.

When Time comes by

to split the fig open and eat away the pulp,

spoil the wine,

smear the pomegranate,

and turn the honey thick with poison… 

Let me eat the rotted fruit, 

bury my heaving body in the swirling brown dust,

devour the last molding seeds — 

Till I become numb to the men that tarnish my name,

Numb to the girls who sneer as I struggle to breathe… 

Till I am with Sappho, Eros, dust

dust, dust, dust, dust… 

tracing the name… 

tracing the woman that saw me

Into the crumbling Lesbian soil.

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