Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2018  Vol. 17 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Apollo Catches Daphne
Apollo hunted Daphne so,
Only that she might laurel grow.
—Andrew Marvell

Better this, then, than the dreams
of her meadowsweet hair, or her
twiglike fingers, caught against
my thigh, her scent—call it floral
or bloody, like a rose. Women
are always turning into something
else. I’ve seen the slim legs
that cattails make, and white arms
pitched like a tent, those feathered
things called dresses, the talons
strapped to fingernails or feet.
Something in them wants to be
something strange, something
to do with beauty, I suppose, though
beauty is not the god of which
I speak. I mean the tremble before
they walk into any room, head held
high, the twitch beneath the skin.
I mean that itch to grow scales or sap,
to erupt into boils, to burst. I mean
Daphne, calling on that power,
as if she had any, the hard crack
of her laureled limbs, like a tree-fall,
or a shot. Yes, I got what I wanted—
what I saw before I saw nothing.  

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