Danaë

Inside the box I feel the waves’

constant movements rock me back

and forth, currents dragging me

to places I don’t know, the child

moving in my stomach.

 

I can still see the room—thick gray

walls, dusty tapestries, a lumpy bed—

dimly seen during those long days

of silence and near-night darkness

until sunlight pierced the black,

a shaft that caught me, held me,

golden rain soaking me through,

clear through, running like fire

inside my head, my legs, my belly.

 

For punishment, an even smaller space—

a box—abandoned on the waves to sink

into the cold sea’s silt, and yet

we do not fall but float as gently

as an empty shell, and as the child

turns in my belly I can see my father

turned to stone, his fancy noblemen

frozen too, and my son with his shield,

bright mirror, and that stony face

reflecting their evils upon them.

 

I rest my hand on my belly, feel

the scrape of the box on sand, and hear

someone picking at the lock.

 

 

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