Minotaur Noir

by Rachel Manija Brown

The story always starts with a dame.
Evelyn or Ariadne, Phyllis or Pasiphae.
Each one could launch a thousand ships.
Watch them slink across the screen.
Hero, beware those knowing eyes:
dames like to read the last page first.
The tale unwinds as it always does:
the private eye, the lady sly,
the branching labyrinth of clues,
the battle, then the final twist:
the secret at the heart of the maze
dragged into the blinding light.
The monster slain, the maze remains.
Not even a hero can save a city
faithless and corrupt as women,
doomed and helpless as women.
The point's been made; it's a wrap.
The sated director returns to Hera.
The scrolls coiled in brass canisters
await the editor's shining sword.
The minotaur creeps from behind the flat
some weary grip forgot to strike.
He steals a prop, a chipped black bird.
Something glints within its cracks.
Under the sound stage's cooling lights,
the dame blinks her one good eye
and beckons to her sister-daughter.
The car's shot up but the map's okay,
dotted line across the wine-dark sea
to an island missing a sorceress. 

Rachel Manija Brown only started writing poetry this year, with the encouragement of J. C. Runolfson, Shweta Narayan, and others. But as she had previously written novels, a memoir, short stories, television scripts, screenplays, plays, manga, advertising copy, interactive games, and, in a single but memorable instance, a comic strip intended to be silk-screened onto a scarf, poetry was probably inevitable. You can find her reviewing great, okay, and awesomely bad media of all kinds at her Livejournal. Her favourite fruits are Alphonso mangoes and Dehradun lychees.

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