by Margaret Bashaar

Wrapped in monster skins
she touches Odysseus and her fingers
are threads of pulled sugar.
She has cut her feet
on forest paths that lead her to him
with fistfuls of constellations
to lay at his left while he sleeps
and his hair is like fire.

She thinks sometimes
that she is the worst kind of woman,
a dark-haired traitor to her sex
when she spends the morning
picking violets and thyme.
She has bushels of them by now,
baskets overflowing with sweetness
as they dry or rot
and she covers her body
in the oldest of them.

Her legs have become husks,
cracked at the surface
and stripped apart.
She makes dolls from her skin,
tied together in bundles
of threes and fours with her hair.
They will be gifts for her lover's friends,
all dead-drowned,
bodies bound to the ocean floor
with spider silk and moth wings.

She lets Odysseus pull her teeth out
with tales of the 22 countries
he has visited -- she has too many
for her mouth anyway,
impacted and monster-like.
She swears she would fix her face
if she knew how.
She would tear out her own heart
and eat it if she could only
get past her ribcage.

On nights when she sleeps alone
smelling of violets and dead things,
she dreams of vegetables
that rip themselves out of the soil
to make a golem from their roots,
its eyes ripe fruit flesh
and it plucks her from Ogygia.
Sometimes it kisses her, and sometimes
it devours her whole.

Margaret Bashaar's poetry has appeared in or is forthcoming from a number of journals including So to Speak, Caketrain, The Pedestal Magazine, and Boxcar Poetry Review. She also edits the literary journal Weave Magazine and co-hosts the poetry cabaret The TypewriterGirls. She lives in Pittsburgh with her son, her soon-to-be husband, and three typewriters. Her favorite fruit is the lemon because so many things would be significantly less delicious without it.

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