Songs for Psyche by Andrea Blythe

I.

if you believe the path
111of an arrow is straight

11you’ve never
11111been within
111111cupid’s quiver

11here we clatter
wooden shaft against wooden shaft
11here our iron heads
1111and feathered fletchings
11here the carved grooves
1111of our many nocks
1111111each waiting to embrace
1111taut string

we know how love can twist a point

111111111how an arrow can
11111111111111prick the archer
1111111as easily as the target

II.

when a woman
11111brings a blade to bed,
she already knows
11111her husband is a monster
the oracle told her so
11111her sisters, too
although the dark shrouds
11111him from her sight,
she has seen
11111the trail of wreckage,
heard the echo of bitterness
11111he leaves in passing
the double edge
11111of a silver dagger
is meager comfort
11111but a wife
will take what comfort
11111she can.

III.

11111mother-in-laws
11111have their tests

a gathering of grains
a path over rocky rivers
a flock of furious rams, shedding golden fleece
a hillside churning with dragons and dark waters
a boat ride into hell to beg a gift from a cold queen

11survival is not
11in a daughter-in-law’s set of skills
11but in

1111111the industriousness of ants
1111111the notice of a river spirit fluting through the reeds
1111111the strength of an eagle set for battle
1111111the whispered advice of tower stones
IV.

every box is a trap — she should know this by now — how
many stories about how many girls given gilded boxes by liar
gods, girls beset by the too human curse of curiosity — how
many come away unscarred — she should know — this box,
glossy and gold leafed, this box with such heavy latches
serving as their own warning — she should know — this box
once touched by Venus, twice blessed by Persephone, each
filling it with fragments of their own secrets, their own female
rage thickly swelling in the shadows — how many lids once
lifted reveal anything but sorrow, anything but destruction —
she should have asked Pandora how this works — a box in the
hand is a waiting catastrophe — yet, there she goes, enacting
an opening — opening up the cavity of her own chest, her
own heart throbbing inside — she should have known —
every girl is a trap

V.

1111we drink
ambrosia from the lips
111111of our lovers

and we tell ourselves
1111time
is meaningless
11111and we whisper
11111111111111forever

11we make
a bed on Love’s monstrous
11111tongue, curl up
111and placidly risk the gleaming
111111111111111teeth,
11the bloodshed,
11the deep
111111111drop into the gullet,
11111111111the little 111death
11111111111111at the end
111of imagined eternity,
the sweet sacrifice
111111we accept
111in name of the
11111111111kiss


Andrea Blythe bides her time waiting for the apocalypse by writing speculative poetry and fiction. Her first chapbook of poetry, Pantheon, is forthcoming from ELJ Publications in August 2017. Her work has also appeared in several publications, including Yellow Chair Review, Nonbinary Review, Linden Avenue, and Strange Horizons. She serves as an associate editor for Zoetic Press and is a member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. Learn more at: http://www.andreablythe.com.

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