Jeannine Hall Gailey
Your only sin that men – a god, even – desired you.
Now, cast out with your mutant half-god children,
your winged Pegasus and your shame.
Athena robbed you of your shining hair, glossy and soft,
the twinkle in your eyes turned to poison.
Now, holed up in a swamp or cave,
(where you’ll do the least damage, you think)
you can moan on about injustice, curse the gods
who raped you in a temple and made you a monster.
At least now they will leave you alone.
In silence, you can monitor your own slow decline
in a garden of stone figures, quiet except for the hiss
of your own snaky ringlets,
your power a weapon – you don’t know yet –
the last thing that will be stolen from you.
Jeannine Hall Gailey recently served as the Poet Laureate of Redmond, Washington, and the author of three books of poetry: Becoming the Villainess (Steel Toe Books, 2006), She Returns to the Floating World (Kitsune Books, 2011) and her latest, Unexplained Fevers, from New Binary Press. Her work has been featured on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac, Verse Daily, and in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. Her poems have appeared in journals such as The Iowa Review, American Poetry Review, and Prairie Schooner. She volunteers as an editorial consultant for Crab Creek Review and currently teaches part-time at the MFA program at National University. Her web site is www.webbish6.com.