I’ve been goddessing since the Iron Age. Born in water, manifested on land as horse/seductress, I lured Roman soldiers to their deaths. There’s a coin to prove it.
But Rome won. They couldn’t bury me; too many loyal followers. A demotion to domestic goddess, that’s all they managed. A warrior at heart, I spent centuries in the kitchen baking and plotting, biding my time.
We struck. Me, Ceres, and Demeter took back fertility and reproduction. It’s what they fear about women. The secrets we know about life and death. The patriarchy can try, but they can’t take away our power.
While suitors climbed the glass mountain where the golden apples grew, the princess searched Google for profiles. Golden Boy, who climbed in heavy gold armor, was revealed as a serial philanderer and bigamist on the site, “Knights to Avoid”. She sent her eagle out. His talons were like a can opener.
Next came the warlord. That’s how she thought of him because he was interested in annexing her kingdom. The eagle tore him into pieces and left each limb in a different conquered territory. The torso it ate.
The farmer’s son was a different story. A happily ever after story.
In her dreams, the fetus pleaded for life. The girl woke in a sweat, knowing that she wanted to indulge this creation, but love must be firm. A new life takes years to nurture. Time, money, patience, support. She had no one she could count on for that long, not even herself. It came down to being responsible. She hadn’t been before.
She prayed to a God more forgiving than any politician. Followed a gospel that permitted free will. Took the legal option. Mothers need a choice. Children, a future. Hers are old now. They have gained from her loss.
Our fence, her highway, three times that we know of. Once struggling in thick ivy, an ashen color, a naked tail that made us mistake her for a white rat disturbing the leaves. Next, she cased the neighbor’s vegetables. Finally, she came with two juveniles following in a line.
It was daylight, an unusual time for them to be about. Overcast, so that might have helped. The mother was scruffy, the youngest sleek with soft fur. We didn’t see them after that.
Maybe the camera scared them off.
Or is it that they change hunting grounds every few days?
“The moment you accept your own death, something in you changes.”* Words spoken by a Ukrainian refugee slumped on a shelter bed, phone in hand. Resigned. Her words resonate, a reminder of my mother’s decline.
Mom has changed. She says very little, sleeps a lot. No more raging temper tantrums over how much butter there is on the toast. Little things matter little, big things less. Nothing big like Russian planes threaten Mom. Nothing external. Nothing like this Ukrainian woman faces. And yet she is upended. Shuttling from hospital to rehab, death has crept inside my mother, weighing her down.
* From The Economist April 30, 2022 “The Wreckage Within.”
The last time we met you was before Zoom was the go-to way to say “Hello.” A long time ago, but we remember.
Your three year old was a baby. She’s distant, no interest in meeting strangers. As long as you hold my phone for her, she likes the photo of the lizard camouflaged in the dirt.
“The ground is moving.” Enough to entice a child to get acquainted. It’s a tuft of dried grass, to be precise. A nose pushes up, sniffing the air, reluctant, the way we were when we took the risk to picnic in the park.