RIGHT NOW: J.B.

Black Athena of the New Shore
[based on birth of Athena from Zeus’ skull]

 

My mama clever
like a threat.
Father see in her
his own kin.
He see in her a continent–
field to seed,
a shore too much to manage.
 
He love her wealth.
He wary.
 
Mama sweet,
dark-blush plum, shadow-born.
 
He gorge on the fruit
fast.
Love the taste
well.
 
All that stretch of sky
and plummet of thunder.
He cowed by one crimson bulb,
wrapping its own seed in plump and wet.
 
He say if he eat, he eat all.
A danger to let her take root.
He love so much he swallow her away.
Fool mama into folding small, small, small
and then–one inhale and she gone.
 
He think she lose her seed.
He keeping safe.
 
First push I make against my mama,
she hush me.
Make me wait.
First I see of light is dimmed–
 
skin and sinew thick against
more skin and sinew.
I learn home is a sliver of belly
pressed tight against the wall.
 
She sing me shadow songs.
She say I am a stranger fruit
than ever she could bloom alone.
 
So much time to listen
and plan
pressed tight in the dark,
Father’s temples’ bloodrush my lullaby.
 
“Born” too soft a word.
When time come, I break free.
They say a man with an axe chop me forth,
but he just watch.
 
I cleave Father open like his thunder.
Loud and grown. Know what is mine.
Birthright of shadow fruit and the wide sky,
Of fear and waiting,
ache of brain and belly.
 
I charge forth on mama’s birth tide.
Wise. Just. Sword-sharp and ready.
 
When I greet Father, I know to bare my teeth.

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