Portrait of Demeter as Manananggal

To become separate, divided into
parts: the way children, bored 
after dressing and undressing

their dolls, will snap off 
a leg or an arm or the head. 
Foretaste of power in the split-

second, as something gives or 
gives way. How when you choose
instead of are chosen for, you

don't have to settle. Tell, 
if you like, the story of how
the god left you waiting at 

the altar; of your monstrous
anger and the blue-black wings 
it tailored for purging 

the countryside at night. 
On the ground, you leave the nether 
regions of that body ransacked 

and marked with every conquest. 
Where it severs from the cage 
of your heart, the wound

is brilliant as pomegranate;
its innards go on for miles.
Long before that other seed 

grew into a child, you knew
the stories they would weave:
stingray whips, deadly 

poultices of salt; you 
and your hideous hauntings.  
How ordinary you look 

in sunlight. No one can imagine 
how wide the territories of ice in
your sight, how you sustain those

arguments with yourself through
the year: cleave or forget? Soften
or stay, but refuse to disappear. 

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