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Carmen Giménez Smith

I'm Phaedra, badly advised, depraved
redundant. I needed flight, so I called
to the gods, then remembered I was atheist.
I gave my virtue to a son, but he threw it
to the ground. The charlatan was my weakness,
my weakling knees and I got stuck in the sticks.
I needed flight, collected feathers and candles,
but the assembly required measure,
not like the myth, and a type of daring
I didn’t possess. I landed in a bed of cloud,
still requiring flight, a transcendence
I read about in someone else’s poem,
and I wished I were that poem,
that poet, wed to the tradition of mimesis,
but I was not of that practice.
I rolled pennies and quarters into
paper sleeves for the first flight out of limbo.
I tried to buy a drink, but the steward
told me I was too wasted on hubris.
We flew in a plane that split open
like tin over an ocean that folded us
into its animal ferocity. Shark chattel,
another flight, but now water’s matter:
a gallivant into the caustic domain of urchins
where the golden sun-apple swans me,
taps my root, mourns me velvet,
messengers me. Doodly-do,
I'm useless. Watch me suffocate.

Carmen Giménez Smith

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