Posts Tagged ‘myth’




To increase her appeal, Aphrodite ate beets.

I consider this as I rub the beets with oil


and wrap them in foil and slide them

into the oven to roast. They pulled out


of the garden soil so easily, round and red

and heavy with sugar. It’s not that I believe


the old stories, but I wonder if they perhaps

believe in me and guide my hands as I slice


the warm beets and drizzle dark coils

of thick balsamic vinegar. My hands


move with desire that is mine

and not mine. My lips turn increasingly


crimson, a crimson that cannot be washed away,

essence of the earth, extravagant with myth.







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I was born with ten thousand mouths,

all of them hungry. Feed me,

I said to the lake, and it spilled into me

its deep green and its months of ice

and its forgotten bottom. Feed me,

I said to the hill, and it filled me

with shadows and stones

and the tunnels of mice. Feed me,

I said to the mountain, and it served me

glacier and couloir and avalanche paths.

And still I was hungry. Feed me, I said,

to the book, to the priest, to the tree,

to the moon, to the man, to the boy,

to the song, to the earth. And I ate

and I ate and I ate and still I was hungry.

Feed me, said the world. And I did.

I fed it my heart, my hours, my eyes.

And for the first time, I felt full.

I was born out of loss. Year after year,

I took the world into me. At last

I find myself in the world.

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Why the Women Cry

Lara and I sit side by side in her rocking chairs.
Like old women. We are old women.
Or at least much older than when we first
had sleepovers at her house in seventh grade.
She would tell me her secretest thoughts
late at night and I, laying in the trundle
bed beneath and beside her would often fall asleep
in the middle. Oh how she would pummel
me then with her pillow. Her anger was
as real as her tears.


At first I think she is laughing. I turn
down the music to hear the small
gurgles in the backseat. It is dark.
Sweetheart, I say to my girl, are you laughing?
Now I hear they are sobs.


In the search bar I type:
myth why people cry.
In seconds I am led to 9,980,000
results. People crying for myth.
Myths about crying and depression.
But there are no stories I can find
about the why of the tears.


It was her nephew who died.
As we rock, we talk about him and his life.
She loved him. He was the first
child she ever knew. Avalanche.
Though it doesn’t much matter,
the why. He’s dead. She says,
I knew him, but I never really knew him.
He never totally let me in.


My daughter is scared.
Mom, she says, are there any
other cars going the same way
that we are going?
Yes, my love, I say. We are moving
at the same rate and at the same time
in the same direction, so we cannot see them.
Does it scare you that we seem to be alone?
Yes, she says. Yes, I say, it can be scary
to feel alone.


Once upon a time there lived a woman.
She was all alone. She lived by the sea.
The sea frightened her. It was vast
and deep and full of things
she could not understand.


Lara does not cry. Not tonight.
She tells me about how her nephew
has lived so much in such a short time.


Grown ups don’t cry, my daughter says,
when I tell her it’s alright to cry.
Oh sweetheart, I say, yes they do.
Mommy cries all the time.


The woman who lived by the sea
stood on the beach and looked at the water
for many, many days.
At last she said to the ocean,
what do you have to teach me?
And the ocean said nothing at all.
But she could feel in her such
a great, great emptiness
so she began to drink. At first
a sip. Then another. She could taste in it
the unfurling of the intricate undersea fans.
She could taste in the water the blood of a recent kill.
She could taste the wreckage, the rainbow,
the force of the waves. And she drank
and she drank and she drank.


When I was 23, I remember
reading in a magazine about
how if you cried more than 2 times
a week, it meant that you were depressed.
Oh, I thought, but I cry at least two times a day,
and I am the happiest person I know.


And when she had swallowed the entire sea,
the violence, the glassine façade, the sludge
and the tug and the roar and the still,
she sat on the beach and was satisfied
that it all was inside of her.
Until she remembered the pleasure,
could it be? that she’d felt when she was
more empty. Less knowing. Less full
of it all. More thirsty. More space.
The world then was more mysterious.
And she began to, what was it?
cry. Something no one had done
before. Oh the salt. Oh the sting.
Oh the ferocity of the act as the sea
spilled out of her. And sometimes, too,
she leaned into the gentleness.
And slowly the shore became a shore
and again the sea became a sea.
And the woman then understood
what it meant to gain and lose things.


This night, when I am ready for sleep,
Lara does not throw her pillow at me.
She kisses me good night, and we lean
our bodies into each others bodies,
then climb the stairs to our husbands, our beds.


Mama, she says, you cry?
Oh yes, my love. I try to imagine
how she has not seen this before.
Inside I feel the teeth of the eel,
the ship without an anchor,
the shifting of the rising shore.

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On the Highway 145 Spur

“Hi Katie,” he says, as he got in the car.
“Hi Mike,” I say, “It’s Rosemerry.”
“Oh,” he says, “Yes. Hi Rosemerry,
I’ve been thinking a lot about
poetry and Alice Walker. I heard
a story about her on the radio. She’s black.
I like her,” says Mike. “I do, too,” I say.
I have gone all the way around the round about
so that I might drive in the wrong direction
to give a ride to Mike. It turns out he is going
quite a ways away, but he says he’d be happy
if I could take him just three miles down the road.
“I would love to,” I say, and I mean it.
Mike is wearing clothes that no longer fit him.
His pants are tucked into his tall black socks.
It is selfish, me picking him up. He is the man
I cross the street to say hi to, the man that I
make sure to bump into in the grocery store,
cornering him between the cans of black beans
and the measuring cups. He always tells me
the real news. “You know I live in the nursing home now,”
he says as he settles into the passenger seat.
“The nurses tell me eternity is real.”
I ask him, “Tell me more.”
He goes on to mention the rocks at Lava Falls
in the Grand Canyon, how they are over five billion years old.
I do not know if it’s true, what he says, but
I remember the rush when my husband to be and I
moved through those rocks on our raft, how time
that late summer day stopped.
“Time,” says Mike, “is a myth. Something that men
have created to make themselves more comfortable in space.
I like myths,” he says. “Like the Hopi, the Navajo, the Zuni.”
“Me, too,” I say. We both ignore that the car is
making loud beeps reminding him to put his seat belt on.
It would be difficult for him to manage it,
and it seems worth risk to say nothing.
I think of the only Hopi myth I know, how the first men
emerged from a single hole in the earth
and the mockingbird was there to greet each one,
and give him a language, a place and a tribe.
How much we have forgotten about who we are,
I think, since that day.
Already, Mike and I have travelled three miles through
a canyon only 220 million years old, the reddish-brown
Cutler formation forming the basal band of rocks.
I wish that the miles would stretch longer.
For a while, I forget who we are. Forget
we are driving. Forget the myths. Forget
we have names or origins. I am intent on
the sound of his voice as he tells me about
his 90-year-old mother and how much
he loves her and how she lives now
in California. The details are mundane.
The tone of his voice is outside of time.
And then he is climbing out of the car,
wishing me and my husband well.
“Tell him hi for me,” says Mike. “I will,” I say.
And drive three miles and an eternity
back up the road.

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