Leda’ s Voice, Under Sky, Over Water
A Response Poem to Jessica Damen’s Painting
Leda and the Angry Swan
I lie in the wreckage of my longing
which called him down to me.
I remember myself before Zeus settled
over me, in the guise of a swan,
downy chest against my nipples.
That world is gone.
I have been opened, my thighs spread
by wings beating all around me,
churning my blood into fever.
I am slathered with his god seed,
planted on this tortoise shell bed,
pinned down by clawed feet on bare skin.
His wings, spread across the sky,
eclipse the sun beneath which
all things are his domain.
I was mine. Now, I am his.
I will scissor my hair to the scalp
so he will not desire me if he returns.
Hera, his wife, has found us.
He rises in anger at her meddling.
I am sore.
The milky way swims in my belly.
Wherever you go, my empty eye follows.
-Maj Ragain Jan. 5, 2004