Zeus with the migraine that was Athene
smashed his skull open on his stepson’s maul,
split free a tall spear of a girl
as unbreachable as logic and beguiling as a myth
while the lag–footed blacksmith
glanced down at his burnt hands
and faded underground again.
A god who crashes once to earth
buries himself within it, forge–roaring Etna
and the tindery fields of Claudius’ Ostia
hammering out the shape of fires to come,
lyre–lit Rome, the charred olives of Athens
and the armor that saved Achilles
as surely as a poem turns aside a bomb.
Get out of my head, older artificer,
take axe and tongs if you have to,
you cannot break this grip of pain on me.
I will smelt it fine as silver,
chase out wild leaves and Gorgoneia,
a dancing–floor running with ocean at the rim,
and hold it nightly against the deaths that gather
like inspirations, pecking to get in.
More from Sonya Taaffe:
Sonya Taaffe’s short fiction and poetry can be found in the collections Postcards from the Province of Hyphens (Prime Books), Singing Innocence and Experience (Prime Books), and A Mayse–Bikhl (Papaveria Press), and in anthologies including Beyond Binary: Genderqueer and Sexually Fluid Speculative Fiction, The Moment of Change: An Anthology of Feminist Speculative Poetry, People of the Book: A Decade of Jewish Science Fiction & Fantasy, The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, The Alchemy of Stars: Rhysling Award Winners Showcase, and The Best of Not One of Us. She is currently senior poetry editor at Strange Horizons; she holds master’s degrees in Classics from Brandeis and Yale and once named a Kuiper belt object. She lives in Somerville with her husband and their potential cat.