Sleeping Medea

Of the many types of love that exist
we choose to live with what hurts the least
tending a fire contained by bricks
piling up wood in broad even stacks
surviving winters
without cherishing the spring
we pile the wood and forget the flame
where goes the unspent fuel
inside a woman
harnessed by tasks
who climbs stairs and prepares a bed
who in love would become
a girl again
and lacking only grows old fast
trained long
in propping up heads
putting on a good face
combing each discontent into place
where one trick of mischievous fate
prayed for in secret
unintelligible ache
would release sleeping Medea
from her mythic chains

It is for a woman to temper
that love that would be desire
stir warmth from the hearth
with an iron rod or soup ladle
where warmth
is a wandering dream
haunting blind lips in rote melody
sung in novice allegiance
quelling
the manifestation
of ripe vengeance
in quiet homes
lining the pregnant earth

Passing, weeping
for dry cords of wood
nursing my own withheld
wish
that fate may strike my flesh
morph soul into spark
set wives afire
scorch their shrines
of orderly gods
and burn and burn
and burn
until the wild fire
burns itself
out

Then shapeless
rejuvenating power
tramping meadows without
concern for hours
neither those then nor
those tomorrow
nor the rubble of stories
helplessly built
from nothing
defended with fierce
inversion of will
stoked with the sentries
of our own
private hells…

The fear—
that I might disintegrate
too?
love doesn’t answer
that question
love
doesn’t have to—

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