for Nyani Martin
You knew our strength,
we were the maze’s clew
coiling in your goddess’ fists,
the sidewinding horns of the bull
tossing dancers through copper-blue infinity.
Son of serpent-footed kings,
he should have twined his wrists
with yours, not left them
for the wild grape and the ivy
to lasso into immortality,
than the black sails of his father
or the red reins of his son.
Let him try the earth again,
we will be waiting
in the cracks of palace walls,
the roots of dry olives.
When your crown dips to meet
his sire’s ocean,
under it our earth will always shake,
our restless scales unfurling to enfold
your arms of wine-dark honey as you come home.
(Editors’ Note: “The House Snakes” is read by Matt Peters on the Uncanny Magazine Podcast, 44A.)
© 2022 Sonya Taaffe