Danaë, Cast out to Sea with Perseus
Sarah Crossland


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.  

 
 

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