Ten trillion fevered suns have drowned
———since on this island illness left me
——————quarantined. In sweat-soaked dreams
I shriek the awful plummet down:
———the sun-kissed wings that hiss upon the sea,
——————the body, a shell picked clean,
that gives in to the tidal toss and pull.
———Yes, I am Ariadne, princess become
——————anchorite, virgin become a hero’s whore,
who trembled for Theseus with a lust
———crueler than Poseidon’s curse
——————that drove my queen to fuck the bull
that made my half-brother horned
———and terrible. I made my choice,
——————threatened Daedalus with lies, dangled
words like traitor, torture, orphaned boy
———until he yielded me the thread
——————that pulled the nightmare body down.
And still you each come stumbling
———across the eons, feigning love but seeking
——————wisdom, as if once more I knew the way,
as if each sunset were not Icarus,
———as if this myth had had its run
——————and I were finally done with it.
Fuck your cautionary tale.
I have ears, heard
his warning, knew
what I wanted. So? No
sob. No could’ve been.
Try this cliché for keeps:
not youth, but love:
Ariadne reading in my
father’s study, her beauty
perfect, or so I thought
before I spent millennia
comparing. And him?
Big man? Theseus? I
tried sabotage. Went
to Minos, fawn-eyed,
ratted out their plans
to flee. I have no coin
for the ferry. It was eons
before I gave up trying
to hold on. Don’t fly
too close: easy moral.
Tragic, true, but
a moment in the sun?
Eternal. What hell?
I never felt the fall.
Barely older than you will always be,
I vowed to honor her till death.
Should I have known, those months
we swelled with hope, that Atropos
was set to cut a life, even as her sister
spun you yours? My son,
I let the wet-nurse be your family,
ground my teeth each time your cry
caught me inking out the fates
of hundreds in the web of my design.
Now the candle drips as I retrace
my steps. Like memory, it must
consume itself before it can go dark.
For thirty years your falling cry
has thread its accusation deeper:
There is no killer but your father.
Icarus, mercy. At last, tonight,
navigate escape for me.