Ann Stanford

(1916 - 1987 / California / United States)

Andromeda


I am terrified
marooned on a rock with a gale
freshening and the waves already
spatter me with spindrift.

What could my father be thinking of!
Listening to a two-faced oracle,
chaining me like a dog in this gnashing water.
It is low tide now - high tide will be the end of me.

I will either drown struggling against water
or be caught here by the monster from the sea
the claws searing me along the bone
the teeth quick cutting through flesh and nerve.

It is grim being a sacrifice.
The garlands, the watching crowds, cannot make me heroic.
My legs tremble and fire streaks across my brain
the roots of my hair are daggers.

If this were a story there would be a hero
to swim through the impossible waves, a sword at his belt.
He would cast off my chains, kill the monster,
take me
out of this country mad with fear and riddles.

But all I am sure of is the explosion of waves,
my mother crying from the shore, the seething
wings
of a large invisible bird circling the rock,
and the head of the monster coming up over the horizon.

Submitted: Thursday, September 04, 2014
Edited: Thursday, September 04, 2014

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