I felt comfortable in all the stories that she told
So avidly, as if she herself believed them, all of them
Shooting right out of her mouth, and her eyes would glisten,
More mouths would open, tongues disoriented, desiring her, the lands she opened.
She would talk and narrate, crushing all shadows and doubts, the backhead
Of her silhouette where the worms feast,
The cracked wrapping paper, a box without a jack, emptiness, a blown-up
House of cards without identities and hierarchies.
The audience aggrandises, hungry, assembling in front of her face,
And I looked at her face and could smell her, absorb her secret defeat,
I stared at her orchestrating mouth and eyes, then detected no
Facial movements whatsoever, no life in those cheeks, forehead, jaw.
She had a dead face that let loose all the empty rooms within her mind,
All the galloping void thoughts that had lingered around the stark corners
Of her skull, burning, and crispy, her inner devastation and despair,
That had run out of time, long ago, and could not be saved anymore, no more.
Her index finger tipping against the side of her head, like a crashed barge.
Her eyelashes fluttering, irritatedly, when will they realise the shrine of a woman that
They adore and pray before? I could hear her wisdom teeth cracking in the
Back of her mouth, a moment of truth, something stirs still.
The crowd is tiring, their observative blind gaze, the endless expectation.
The stomach green and exasperated. Her smile looks like a threat,
And they fail to read her properly. Their lives in danger, the abyss in her eardrums.
The louder they applaud, the deeper she collapses and falls down into her own sex.
That’s what she had always wanted to avoid.
The exposure, open vulnerability, the true state of things,
Dissolved by the unknown touch born meaningless,
The grinding operators, objectifying eyeballs killing what they covet.
“Circe Offering the Cup to Odysseus” by John William Waterhouse (1849-1917)