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Fickle Muses an online journal of myth and legend

art by Phyllis Bertoni Krosinsky
by Phyllis Bertoni Krosinsky

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Artemis’ Rousing
by Angela Maria Williams

As I awoke to this world
the moon sat between my legs
and my father brought the night,
placed it in my cradle and, warily,
we watched each other.

When he turned for my brother
I began screaming, silver
arrows shooting from my mouth,
and my mother cried on the floor
beside our beds, spent with the labor
that wracked her frame for hours.

I had sat beside her after my birth,
coaxing the boy from her bloody thighs.
He was wild as the sun with burning eyes,
this ravenous child whose love clenched in my gut.

I swore then I would keep him from our careless father,
save him from our murderous stepmother,
then hunt down any fool who touched him,
turn them to stags and tear apart their supple flesh
with my own teeth.

He sleeps in his cradle, my parents circling
each other in the other room. I squeeze
the moon so hard blood begins caking my thighs.