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“On a planet where for thousands of years, even today, a woman’s worth has been judged exclusively by the productivity of her womb, what the hell is the point of a barren woman?”
― Elissa Stein and Susan Kim

After the change they called you a monster.
Ain’t that the truth, Ruth, Ruelaine and Susan; Pat, Judy and Audre – –
That dying, drying, dissolving inside. Listen.
You had no child so you had no cradle and what woman can dance with ecstasy with no cradle?
Who can sing when they have no tongue?
They hang girls for less, body and mind.
The priestesses banished you to the island of Cisthene in the Red Sea (east of Ethiopia).
What man wouldn’t lose his erection at the sight of you? What woman wouldn’t cast you out?
Somewhere Athene laughed while plotting your murder, “Perseus, bring me her head.”
We love to be fruitful; outside spring rises; we even describe the world in terms of ovulation.
Ai, mama mine, winter time.

][][

No one wants to remember how the goddess of wisdom, courage and womanhood cursed you for getting raped.
You would think that your name alone would shatter a civilization built on pomegranates and sweet wine.
Today apologists say that you were prideful, that you boasted, that the gods moved in mysterious ways.
So do priestesses. So do judges.
Athene didn’t curse Cassandra when she was raped in her temple.
She was young, fertile, still a thing of beauty.
But you, mother mine, became the exception to the rule.
Rules change. Honey and harp strings. Swine and flies.
Here is the head of a woman with snakes in her hair.

][][

Lovely-cheeked and
ironic. Your blood spilled
out vipers, Pegasus
and me.

][][

Hysteria: suffering of the womb, madness of the womb, but still a womb.
That which defines, that which engenders.
“As long as men ejaculate they will try to control what comes out.”
That which they cannot possess turns them to stone.
The change; you were desired once, Poseidon cursed you, Athene cursed you, Perseus cut off your head.
Now you have no more use, you and your sisters on Cisthene.
“What do you see when you look in the mirror?”
“Myself.”
“Doesn’t that fill you with rage? Coil your hair in fury? Make every pleasure into a wasteland? What do you feel looking at yourself being slain?”
“Why are you still talking to me?”

][][

“I looked into her stony eyes and see only myself.”

No, they aren’t stony, that is just what you want to see in them.
I call her mother the way I call all who taught me ancestor.

“Speak earth and bless me with what is richest.”

“Queen/ we claim you.”

“I am here to take/ back my Mother that/ you just Othered.”

I do not look like you, but I keep looking.

][][

We stripped the old woman to prove that her body was once like ours.
A man passing as a woman is a double blasphemy.
Not only is he an oppressor but he has a face like ours.
What is a revolutionist to do when monsters come in so many forms?
That which cannot bear seed must be rubbed out.
How to silence the wailing from the monster?
When it is time to pray at dawn there is the wavering sound of a man singing from the slender phalli of minarets.
Today Iran hung 16 year-old Atefeh Sahaaleh for “crimes against chastity.”
That is to say, Iranian judge Haji Rezai bragged that he raped and tortured Atefeh then had her hung to silence the girl after she removed her hijab and threw her shoe at him.
There are ghosts – – there are ghosts that stay with me that I love
the old man in drag – the daughter with the broken neck – my mother who turned her back
hush now, listen as we sever their tongues.

][][

resistance to
domination is part
of the domination
itself, oppression
adapts, by the time
you’re done reading
this you too are
complicit and
part of the system

][][

What a drag; every time they tell your story it is always the same.
Even the priestesses – holy of holy – do not falter.
They have named your malady, mother: barrenness, death of the womb, a monster with nappy hair.
It’s always the same remedy: a man beheads you and places that which he despises before him.
Because a goddess commanded it.

][][

You’re loved, you’re loved, you are loved.

Once there was an island.
And on it lived three sisters: Stheno, Euryale and Medusa.
And that’s all you need to know.