Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Medea's Other Child

A dozen years in seasons of days
sweeping light across the girl-child's

eyes unaccustomed to the night.
A kind of wisdom. (I dream of her

in the dark, my darkness, a stage.)
Slight, stooped, dusty, bare feet worrying

the roots of tumbleweeds and fruited bramble
growing in spurts, untended. Father

a conquering hero, liar and cheat,
gone for good. Mother spending time

waiting on men, waiting on tables
in a greasy cafe, the sorceress still,

dyed hair piled high as a crown upon
a furrowed brow. Passion spent in a rush

like the nouveau riche spend: all fleece and rubies.
In the end there's nothing for the kid

but spidery afternoons alone
imagining desire, throbbing

and hot as a black widow's bite,
consuming her flesh against her will.

originally published in Mississippi Valley Review, Spring 1994

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