Danaë, Cast out to Sea with Perseus
Each hour the hunger returns in thunders,
clapped into the ground of me, tarried and light-
heavy. The ocean outside the steam barrel
climbs, then fallows. We falter with the waves.
As if we could have lace in us, they carry us closer
to the end of the earth: a god’s handkerchief
white and captive in the wind. Without a window
through the wood, how could we know the time
for surrender? Some mornings I eat my son’s
abandoned hair. And he mine. The yellow nests
to our lips—I remember kissing the gold
coins, the mist and the specter filtering in
through the breath vents. The taste of electrum
familiar as quince. Inside the bare bronze walls,
the only and highest holiness fell down
for me—the gasping money, its pictures
of the gate of stags, a lion’s claw, its mane.
The dust of alloys took like pollen; I touched
each beard, each emperor. Their tiny chiseled
mouths, helmet or wheat to mark the air
where they thought. My father found me
wrecked beneath this field of growing metal.
He drew a bath and—mute—peeled every
piece from off my belly. I wanted to love
the thing I’d done. A city of snakes flashed in me
that was my stomach pitching. How could I
have known the seers with stone eyes
would christen him destroyer? These nights now
I see scotomic islands in my mind, their shores
lit up with sand and gilt. Make us sleep, make the sea
fold up like quiet hands. Please, give me myth
or freedom. Tell me which will remember my name.