Monday, March 21, 2022

Theadora Siranian: The Unguarded

for A.B.

Even in sleep, past the road’s soft shoulder,
you are the dark circus tent sitting at the edge

of town, your memory emitting whispered
threats into the landscape. In the stumbling

dark I design highway markers: this is the night,
the early morning, the moon a thin wafer of light.

This is my skin slick with the sweat of dreams,
the exertion of finding my way back to the body.

Athena was hammered from the head of Zeus,
sprang battleborn and screaming. Before

there was conflict, there was the anticipation
of violence. You are the ghost, the penny dropped

down into the dry well. Lying awake I see
you, bent toward the counter, whittling away

at your teeth with the blade of a kitchen knife
and a glass of bourbon. Determined sufferer,

unlucky caulbearer. The stars are wounds
carved from the sky, interminable, accusing.

We weren’t always such poison. Once, we were
as if lovers, closer than lovers, closer than sex,

each scar and ritual of the other better memorized
than the folds of a spouse’s body. What they call

abandonment was escape—our own design. We’d been
planning it for years. Temptation made the sky throb.

Our parents’ violence may have become our own
but we cast ourselves into the darkness. In truth,

we never planned on finding our way back from
the forest. Some myths say Athena had a sibling

or friend, Pallas, whom she accidentally killed.

Heartbroken, Athena took her name.

In some they were opponents in battle.

Originally published in Meridian, Issue 39, 2017

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