i am Danaë, a divine golden
symphony between my legs. i am Helen
on the ramparts forlorn. here, i’m cutting my hair
in the hotel bathroom. here, i’m crashing
my planet into your planet, let’s see
which one drowns the other, generations of princes
wiped out. my ashes on your ashes, none remembered, some forgotten.
i am Medusa
the instant her head goes missing.
my mother says i am an angel
found only in nightmares. she says she doused me
in gasoline when i was two and held a match to me,
but i didn’t burn. i believe her. at the doorway, my father stood
with his newspaper, his cup of black coffee, and said,
“like mother, like daughter.”
i don't want to believe him.
i’m not a girl.
-then what are you?
-all right, like what?
a yellow brush. a seashell
held to a child’s ear. a terrible crime in the tropics.
victim interviews. tiny atoms splitting. music playing
at a quinceañera. wolves fighting over elk meat.
duffel bags full of cash. the moment a son
grows taller than his father. the complete
works of Jorge Luis Borges. the Iberian Peninsula, a--
-jesus, okay, sorry i asked, are you an entire world at war?
yes, that too. all of it, too. i am it all, entirely.
three girls tangled on a white bed.
what is this?
what are we?
an electric silence.
someone answers, Cerberus.
i don't believe them.