ariadne to theseus

You came to me while my sisters slept nearby. Your hot, wet tongue in my mouth tasted sweet as honeysuckle, like you’d drank from streams in Elysian fields. “Luscious,” you said when I was naked, distracted but kind when I tousled your hair and dreamed of the wedding you promised, after I helped lead you out of the labyrinth, far from the steaming carcass of the Minotaur.

You rose from the pit, silver armor tarnished, and I thought the wildness in your eyes was born of war with the bull, taut & muscled, his horns gouging your shoulders before you sliced him in two.

Your eyes looked beyond me after that, towards a hero’s destiny.
I dreamed of your desertion amidst mangoes and coconut trees, and bled from the invisible thorns strangling my soul before you left.

What woman can speak of what happens to the heart once it is shredded, the irreparable sear? The thorns grew thick, rage became a volcano inside me and I wanted to engulf you in lava, watch you scream...then have you admit you loved me.

Is it any wonder I married Dionysus? Blue-haired and insane, god of wine
& ecstasy. I sold myself for a golden crown, for nights of love that dulled
the ache. We lived in caves; he ravished me in feverish worship that first year. By the second, he found me dull, with orders to avert my eyes when other women went to his bed.

I couldn’t help thinking of you, Theseus. Now a legend, famed for your seduction of an Amazon queen. Such grandeur made your fall tragic:
exile, being thrown into a ravine by your cousin.

I felt the instant you died (the thorns prickled), saw your pale,
unscarred face.

And my ending? I die denounced by my husband, shot in the heart with a crossbow, like a wild bird hunted out of jealousy.

I see you now, pacing the Underworld. You wait on the bank,
circles decorating your crystalline eyes. I hope it’s me you search for, trapped at the river, breathing fire and ice. Your body sweats and shivers, worn, while I die many times over from your thorns, planted in my heart.

"* published in “Beneath the Surface”