Gritty Details

Monday, April 3, 2017

Tonight's Poet Corner: Daughter of Pasiphae

Daughter of Pasiphae
by Belinda Roddie

How did you feel, love, when I found
the lipstick drawn in mazes on the bathtub
like labyrinths dragged across the tile
until they melted into crimson wax
against the Minotaur's smile? Did

you find comfort in the color, in the
temporary tattoo? Did it tickle your
fancy to see your cosmetics staining
the rudimentary body of the basin,
which lifted its pelvis upward on clubbed
feet, limping its way to the nearest wall?

Art is meant to be seen, and this femme
display brings back your father's migraine.
What would he say to this, this modern
canvas left to suffocate with crushed carnauba
congealing in its mouth? Or did you, perhaps,
want him to find it, too, much to your sense
of humor - much less to your mother's
sense of shame? Crete be damned.

I did not wipe away the offending
residue until you had a chance to
admire your masterpiece. Your hair
still wet from the kitchen sink. Your hands
soft like clay after so much scrubbing
against running water. You wore mascara
like curtains over your face, only
drawing them apart for the occasional
first act of tears that threatened
to compromise your personal
cabaret. You left beads on the carpet, so

I could step on them and make them pop
like little plastic planets disrupted in their
orbit around a Holbein sun, its red and gold
rays stretched outward like a scarab beetle
stuck on its back and exposing its belly to
an uncaring world. You sketched
portraits in eyeliner on your

arms and legs, the vessel dipped in black
like charcoal, charred horns and ebony
bulls leaving scattered hoof prints, like
lust, fading against your own calves
and knees. Yes, I am sure you felt great

pride when I found the lipstick drawn
in mazes on the bathtub. Your brother
the beast sleeps in its enameled maw.
I look away from its dreams and seize
the golden thread that leads me from the
labyrinth, where by the cold and narrow
entrance, you already wait for me.

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