C-Sestina for Arachne
Set like clockwork toys to run,
we made a mess of weather-beaten footsteps
whose interlocking paths wove
two terrible tarnished tapestries.
You were always rushing somewhere to
get something somehow more important
than threads were once the most “important”.
We used to be threaded. Used to run
and rove with cries erupting from our porcelain lips. To
collapse in fields was heavenly. To count the footsteps
of your other lovers. Those traceless former tapestries
always gripped me with a tight-bound jealousy. Weave
me into something worthwhile. Weave
a shard of jewelry, there. Between us. How important
that you should be a goddess-taunting tapestry?
A braggart with the talent to back it. Haven’t spiders always run
at the sight of you? Haven’t monstrous footsteps
echoed away into forgiving darkness because you told them to?
Tell me again how you used to
swoon at the sight of silk. And I think you must be woven
out of the very gold you weave. I swoon at the sound of your footsteps.
How they pad tenderly down the corridors. Each. Beat. Im-por-tant.
Because it brings you closer. Athena urges you to run,
yet resist, unless it’s to my arms. I am torn tapestry.
Travesty of travesties when she tugs your tapestries
off the wall. The goddess in you alive enough to
bend you into submission. Now your loom’s running
frightful images into our silk. Each stitch you weave
inflames her. You always missed what was most important.
Never missed the silk in my retreating footsteps.
Now become a spider that shies away from me. My giants’ footsteps
could break your titanium tapestry
with one light step. How power corrupts! I never wished to be so important.
Now our clocks are overworked, their work gone, too.
Will you weave
us a meager ending to this tale? Or at least run
out the time of our tapestries? At least run,
sprint, struggle, with your few remaining footsteps. Weave
us into sky-arching giants. The greedy gods will flee because you told them to.