Poetry from Alexis Durante

“Death of Goddesses”

Aphrodite wraps a strand of pearls around her shimmering, pale throat, pulse fluttering wildly at the base of her neck as the precious stones tighten.  The rouge on her lips fades as the light drains from her eyes.  Once jewels, shimmering emeralds fade to grey, eyes blown black as her breath slows.  Asphyxiation is a peaceful way to go, they say.  It’s like falling asleep.  They don’t mention the fire in your lungs, nor the way your ribs feel like they’ve split apart.  Beauty never fades, not even in death, and a princess reincarnates as a goddess, skin as smooth as the pearls that strangled her.

Athena twirls the blade between fingertips, carefully tossing ideas in her head.  Strategizing.  Planning.  Plotting.  What she does best.  A wise commander, young only by her years, wants to feel comfort in her veins, so she splits them open.  A tree’s branches being ripped apart, petals of blood like shreds of roses fall from calloused skin.  The blood soaks up the fears, it soaks up most feelings, and it soaks up the words that die on her tongue as owl’s wings whisk a spirit from a body.

Hera finds her ring.  Purest of metals, brightest of stones.  She lays it before her, on a vanity of gold tabling a mirror with a laughable reflection.  Her fingernails dig into a palm, slender body tensed and muscles coiled to spring.  She lights a candle, watches the wick burn, watches the wax melt and drip and contort into a shape unlike its original form.  The feeling is not unfamiliar.  She twists the stone of the ring on her finger, pours out the pale dust encased in the brilliant cloak.  She breathes in, head swimming and eyes rolling back.  She slams down the ring with all of her force, hearing the mirror crack, though the significance of it is lost in translation.  She feels her insides tighten, her mind seize.  One trembling breath later, blackness.  Though her head slams into metal, she is given the cushion of a cloud.

“Tell us who you find most beautiful,” they chorus, Prince Paris below their thrones on bended knee.  Exteriors are perfection, crafted by Botticelli on a bed of satin.  Interiors are lakes of boiling blood, screaming souls, and spine-chilling pasts.  Mortals cannot see turmoil within; mortals only see the most beautiful sin.  Goddess of Beauty retains her crown, though porcelain skin can only do so much to cover a soul built on rubble.