Wear the Lightning

by Mary Alexandra Agner

The Goddess of Death sent servants
bearing gifts: the water-gift, the grain-gift,
everything a hostess might require
of a guest and I refused them everything.

They threatened me with thunder,
they threatened me with rain,
they made the earth move and I fell.
And I refused them everything.

Like men intent on brutal sex
they tore my clothes and spread me wide.
They poured the lightning straight into my womb
and I refused them everything.

Brother, they have come and searched and gone,
convinced no sister would yield up
what would betray the brother
who never refused her anything.

Inanna, brightness of Heaven,
I do not begrudge you either of your sons.
I do what I must to save my brother.
Grant me one gift, who has never refused you anything:

give me half my brother's fate,
take me to the place my brother lies,
take me to the place your husband lies.
I wear the lightning. Refuse me anything

and I will bring out from my womb
the blackened heat, I will bring forth
mudmen with bloodshot eyes, I will birth in you
the pain felt by the one whom you refused everything:

Dumuzi, shepherd, lover, husband, brother,
sacrifice to your own skin and power,
who died in love and in confusion,
who never refused you anything.

Mary Alexandra Agner says:

I have not written
the biography
you asked for

and which
you were probably
to publish

Forgive me,
the words were
so sweet
and so cold

She is learning to appreciate snow on cherry trees and cherry bud leaves with mochi. (If only the stems could be tied into letters.) Her website lacks stone fruit of all kinds, as do her recent poems in Strange Horizons and The Chimaera.

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