Why I don’t need wine.

Maenad

I stood at the bar with my Diet Coke,
sidling in between Jem
and the man
who’d just finished reading.

It had gone well; he launched
the Emperor’s rocket-chair
almost to heaven, close as any can come.
He’d earned celebration.

They were making plans for after;
there were good vintages to be had
in the pub by the river.
He slicked back his hair,
always foxy, perfectly combed,
‘We deserve a bacchanal.’

I, skirted, awkward, said,
‘Are we maenads then?
They ate men, you know.
Right to the bones.’
I took a pull from my bottle,
they made their excuses to go.

I was not showing off.

It wasn’t the wine that turned them
to blood-grasping savages,
knocked out their teeth, and hung
suckling lion-cubs from their weeping breasts.

It was something else,
something I know well
after eleven at night
when my eyes grow large
in pale flesh
and the caffeine sets
my small heart racing.

Those hours which plunge
between hard lust and violence,
when- if your husband is not willing-
you gnaw a chunk from his haunch
and rub yourself off
using the filthy edge of your covers.

The dark, irrational grasping,
dreaming awake; scenting fire
through the window-panes, hear
your children, your brothers
pawing the door-frame
marring the lintels with blood
that came from no lamb.

The shudders last hours.

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About Bethany W Pope

Bethany W Pope is an award winning author of the LBA, and a finalist for the Faulkner-Wisdom Awards. Her work was listed for the Cinnamon Press Novel Competition. She received her PhD from Aberystwyth University’s Creative Writing program. Her first poetry collection, A Radiance was published by Cultured Llama Press in June. Her second collection, Persephone in the Underworld has been accepted by Rufus Books and shall be released in 2016. Her work has appeared in: Anon, Art Times, Ampersand, Blue Tattoo, Sentinel Quarterly, The Delinquent, De/Tached (an anthology released by Parthian), The Writer’s Hub, New Welsh Review, Every Day Poems, And Other Poems, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, Magma, Words & Music, The Quarterly Conversation, Tears in the Fence, Ink, Sweat and Tears and Planet. Her work is due to appear in the next issues of Poetry Review Salzburg, Acumen, Pacific Poetry , Music& Literature, Anon, and The Screech Owl.

Posted on September 6, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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