Lupercalia

The title poem from my chapbook Lupercalia. Written back in Fall/Winter 2010 when I first started at Goddard’s MFA program. That means this poem is almost 10 years old!

Lupercalia

Last year the city ran down to the frozen river. She threw her face against the rocks, the tatters of her brain crystallized as they oozed from her broken eyes. When we found her we combed the tangles from her hair, rose quartz stained with a grey sky kept us fed for weeks.

Now, what’s left of her slinks through the night like a wolf and you can only see her out of the corner of your eye.

She has not yet forgiven us for the highway stretching on and on forever, crusted with burnt-sugar kudzu and the bones of lovers who will never return.

This year I eat a salt cake in her honor and burn my tongue in the tiny campfire my mother taught me how to make when she and the city were so very young. I pluck out my eyes with the last of the winter roses and let their thorns curl down my cheeks.

Next year, when my voice returns, I will cut it out again.

Read the full chapbook here.

Photo by salem abu al qumsan on Unsplash.

Twisted Myth

for Icarus, 2016.

They say I took the most beautiful dream in the world and destroyed it. Burned it up and my useless life right along with it. I got exactly what I deserved, what Pride throws out to everyone who fails. Death and Shame.

No one remembers we were trapped there too, blind and starving for the open sky. They said, “Give us your magic or else.”

Or else.

Bloody feathers on the floor. But our wings didn’t break and we flew away and YEAH after eons of darkness I flew, unbroken, into that radiant sunrise.

Now they tell you my story with a warning, “Don’t break the rules or you’ll end up like me. Don’t go too far or you’ll end up like me, don’t get too close to what you love the most or you’ll end up just like me.”

They tell you, “Never reach for more than what you are capable of catching.” Which isn’t much. Which isn’t anything. Bloody feathers on the floor.

Remember the stories of the heroes Bravery and Hubris brought safely home? Remember those beloved by the gods? Those who tasted victory instead of defeat?

My story is not their story. Now, because of me they tell you to be cautious, be wary, be afraid.

They don’t tell you what my dream was or why it was so important. They don’t tell you my only dream was freedom.

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Photo Credit: Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, Pieter Bruegel the Elder.