by Maria Gray
With lines from Madeline Miller’s Circe
I am no longer a stranger
to myself. We carry the things
we survive. Clapping away the silence
like mosquitoes. Even endlings
call for mates. Lord, protect me
from what I want. This new,
flawed body, grown from graft.
I cut myself from the root that year,
left the lights on while I slept.
I shot the brain from my head
but the memory remained. And still
I lived, if only out of spite.
Mother, forgive me. I concede
I have sinned. They ran away
with the meat of me, body
a burning barn, animals inside.
I have not moved for all these years.
This is the fabled blood that turns a girl
into a woman. I lift the steaming bowl
to my cracked lips and drink.