-after Louise Glück

Fennel is a laxative;
(as if to further
degrade), used to improve
sex, bowel movements, lactation,
(though not recommended,
as an anesthetic).

I stick a fennel patch
to the soft side of my arm;
any softness left in me is a physical flaw,
not of my character.
I am a porous, spongy poultice;
the skin, lax in snapping
back, makes small hollows
to drink from when I
press it down.

Once, I used fennel
to bring back
what was lost; gods
hid it from me in caves;
my humans, I gave our sun
to bring you back.

Didn’t I carve you from clay?
Earthbound by proxy, a thing that crumbles
when left out. Too long
I suffered for my thievery.

Don’t I know the muddled
countenance of this body?
I should have made you stone;
an eternity nailed to it
has taught me to appreciate
the inanimate; the intimacy
of feeling nothing
with gods.

No matter.
I am not here to serve you
any longer; you are your own
gods now.


Imagine my surprise when I awoke in this body:
a sublime reprieve,
the healing stigmata, the eagle
harvesting my organs, its beak
a nightmare lost
on historians and children.

And a woman, at that.
Should have been my first
warning (haven’t I been taught
about being life’s blood?
Haven’t I been taught
how it frightens
even thunder?)

As the story stands, I stole
fire and for that Pandora
undid the lid of the jar
inside me, then out of
the milk of her breasts
unleashed the miraculous
beginning of the end.

must have been a relief
from the boulder and chains,
the eager pecking,
pulling my long life out.

I do not remember the place between
rock and womb; I will tell you
what no one knows; it was not for fire
that Zeus punished me but for loving too much—
itself a punishment from love.

I am awakened to the true
nature of my punishment; I chained myself
to my own invention; by my own
invention I was chained.

These are the stories you have invented
about the body of my lover, Pandora.
A perfect thing for you
to decimate

in your scriptures,
an apple and a snake.
In your fairytales,
a curious porcelain
doll, adjustable arms.
Blueprints to bring

She stole away
the knowledge of loss
from the spider’s web,
she wove the ferns
around the stars and drowned
them dead,
So you could know
the beauty of them
when they burn.

The miraculous is every
where it pains to look.

For that, my love
was reduced to clay.
In a kiln made of her father’s
rage, he formed her body
to my own.

Don’t I know
the countenance of this body
that even in dreams
I cry out the name
of a lover closed
inside me, a jar
that never opens
no matter how I turn.

If I am your father, she,
too, was your mother.
I am no more than the hand crafting.
The blueprints were perfect.
I love my faults, too well.


I drown my apologia;
In an oven, my lover
and I, out of a womb,
sprang hopeless;
In my face I see
none of her curiosity.

More so, my eyes resemble
your seriffed irises
before we lit the
curves of the universe
for you to see

what was burning
before us?

I don’t need to know anymore.
It is winter in the country
of my providence. I warm
myself on amber
in glasses. I am slurring
the lips where
words are suffered.

I am not
the first woman to turn
blind eyes
to her own womb.

These were just stories you invented
about my body.
A thing more broken
by parable than worshipped;
but I am a living

conduit for my lover
escaping me in shudders
at every grasp of another
man’s hand, says

It was mine, rightfully,
says, It was mine, rightfully.
And who are you that should be spared
when I am damned?
What have you done
with my fire? My children

were hungry, insatiable,
inspired by a spark
to become so grand.

I must have been relieved.
But what comes after the iron
age? Am I still here? Am I
still a god

to bouts of shame; but I say
if fire
was not meant to burn my heart
let it then
burn my liver.