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"Things Gone the Way of Time," recently reprinted in Brief Encounters: A Collection of Contemporary Nonfiction (Norton)

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The Tribal Knot

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Hera, Goddess of Marriage


                  (from “The Seven Wives of Zeus”)

 

Other men? I could have had them all.
Meteors ripen in the fold of my veil.
I’m Queen Of The Sky! The Milky Way
is the milk I spilled one day
as I suckled my child. Yes, hundreds of men!
More than the peacock eyes of Argus. (Once Ixion
embraced a cloud, thinking it was I.)
But from the beginning I set my eye
on him, the god of luminous ether.
I rule the lower, denser
air. We were meant for each other.
Don’t even bother
counting other wives. I’ve blinded men for less.
(Ask Tiresias.)
You’ve heard us clattering about heaven,
throwing our weight around, his uneven
thunder, the zigzag revolt
of the lightning bolt
he slings at my crown. That’s just his way
of loving me. You can say
what you will, a man wants an equal,
not a sequel
to himself. So understand this:
These chains on my wrists,
the iron bracelets, the anvils
on my ankles
can’t hold me! Besides, I like this view.
It’s all in the way you
look at it. Hanging upside-down
is not so bad, as long as your crown
stays put. It’s staying power
that matters, from the first hour
on, past dragons and mistresses, past
disobedient children, you last,
live out all your lives with him:
Girl. Wife. Old woman.

From Mrs. Houdini

Hera, Goddess of Marriage
More Love and Marriage Poems
Also brief essays...