Poetry by Rachael Gay : She Who Soothes

Poetry by Rachael Gay : She Who Soothes

She Who Soothes

in this version of the myth Artemis takes Iphigenia from the rock,
soothes her wave battered wounds with a healing touch
and places her own doe there.

the tamed practically her child, 
raised from pinking fawn to sable adult 
sacrificed for the grand reveal as the waves recede to say 

“you had something beautiful and wasted every inch of her”
She pulls the kelp from Iphigenia’s matted
locks and kisses her forehead.

As sea salt coats her tongue the goddess 
tastes mortality for the first time 
in this version of the story gods do not bleed ichor but
liquid grief, molten mercury.
mirrored refraction drips as beautifully as it is deadly
daughters are always held accountable for the actions of their fathers 

and the men old enough to be fathers.
the blood and viscera among the ocean spray be enough to stop the cycle 
for half a heartbeat, restarting just as the ventricles contract

in my retelling of the mythos 
the goddess and her renamed victim, 
stand ins for every “she” and “her” in 
every poem I leave unfinished.