PASIPHAË LIVES INSIDE THE MOON FOR TWENTY YEARS
The moon won’t look Ariadne in the eyes. Pasiphaë, meaning wide shining. She tells no one, not even her daughter, she’s immortal. But still the twenty years pass slowly. She watches guilt arrive like an angel to some below, but everyone is good at sending it away. Saying there is only so much we could’ve done. The angel of guilt lives on Crete all its brief life. Sometimes it flies to the moon when the moon is full. And on those nights, Pasiphaë cries well like she’s been waiting to and it feels good, like emptying, but the moon floods with an inch or two of salt water. It does not convince her to return to earth. Twenty years. On the worst nights, she can still feel the god’s spell. Everywhere, like it is her skin, her name. On the worst nights, she thinks there was no spell at all. And she tosses, turns, rolls the light of the moon to a thin silver hair, to nothing. The tide folds back on itself. She watches a man on Earth grow tired of being a father again. She watches a father want solitude more than anything. The angel has its brief stints in the labyrinth, in the palace, like a mirage on the sea bed, but it doesn’t leave Ariadne alone. It is a charm that hangs on her bed frame. It is an inexplicable pain in her legs. It is a kitchen knife in her hands. It is silence below sound, aching. She thinks the labyrinth was built for her, but really, it is a cellar for war debts and dissidents, really, it is an engine. She keeps busy. She doesn’t think about it. She sits at the spinning wheel and makes an escape ladder that never ends. It reaches and reaches. Pasiphaë sleeps with her eyes open, facing away from Earth, curled on her side, knowing her daughter is standing below, staring at her back.
ARIADNE WEAVES HERSELF A COCOON WITH WHAT IS LEFT
She sews herself a closet, a room only as large as her body, she sews herself a new body. She makes herself into a boy. A beautiful boy, the ideal of boy, a saint, the son of the century, something her mother deserves. She’s an artist, a silkworm, a red wolf spider. She is going to kill her brother. She is going to let her brother be killed. She’s the assassin’s promise, she kisses the angel of guilt and bandages his hands. She sews without stopping to eat. She curls inside the half-cast nest and becomes an arrow in its bed, a den of foxes, a hen who lays no eggs, a calf stillborn inside the womb, rain caught shining on the web. She’s a thousand insect eggs who hatch and eat the whole leaf. A fiancée forced to work the loom until she transforms to a crane on her wedding day and finally flees. An opera singer’s song circling the glass until it cracks. A doe surrounded by its own antlers. A woman sleeping inside the sun. She sews herself into a cave. There are echoes and wind. She is full of hibernation. She imagines herself stepping out of the crystalis just slightly and plenty new. Not a woman, but what a woman is supposed to be. Healed as if there were nothing to heal, holy as if nothing could quite touch the body. Skin thick as Caeneus’. She ties the end of the red string to the rafters in her bedroom and makes the shape of a cocoon. It is only natural the body inverts itself into a refuge. She is looking forward to liquifying. She wonders if she’ll dream and if it’ll be a good dream. She sleeps for three days and three nights. She wakes the same.
FOX RINNE is a poet and prison abolitionist based in New York City. They have facilitated poetry workshops through the Queer Detainee Empowerment Program and the Right-to-Write program at the Westchester County Jail. Their most recent work can be found in Baest, Jacobin, and Silent Auctions.