Lady Strife

October 12, 2009

She brings chaos in her wake;
Silvery serpents that rise and smile
At those who tremble behind her
And try to shield their faces with bony hands.

She does not care for them, and they
Succumb to the touch of the kakodaimones—
To avarice, pain, sorrow, old age.
They wither and die in a moment, and she cares not.

She is not unnecessarily cruel;
She strikes only those who disrespect her,
Who grind her name into the mud with their feet
And spit on her memory.

The pious and the ignorant, she does not destroy.
They live on even after her chaos passes;
A swarm of bees or fatal wasps
Piercing skin and lapping up the blood.

That isn’t to say that she, goddess,
Queen of the damned and the damning,
Does not like the taste of copper, oh no;
She revels in it; she dances in it; she laughs in it.

It is her, and she is it, and that is all that matters.
Not life or death, mortality, divinity;
Only blood, blood, pouring over skin and fickle limbs,
Over beating hearts and lower, lower.

Yes, she loves blood.
The taste of it, the smell of it: she sighs for it,
For she is the love of war, of pain, of hate;
She is the love of herself; she is the queen of chaos.

Her mother’s daughter, she revels in black night;
Or in the immediacy of yielding flesh and broken bones.
Her father’s daughter, she doesn’t burn for justice
But for blood, for death: that is her aphrodisiac; that is her life.

She sows discord with her hands and teeth –
Her doll-pretty smiles and her shining apple,
Tucked beneath her pillow at night,
Pressed to her lips before she sleeps.

She is childlike, sometimes; else she is a woman,
With yearning skin
And breasts that have nursed a thousand children;
Her kakodaimones; the cruelties of the world.

Her children and her blood: they are everything to her.
She rubs her apple against her belly and watches it shine
Gold with sunlight; red with blood; black with her influence,
Her strife.

It would not take much to start a war or end one;
Not for Eris, the queen of war.
She knows that and she smiles for it.
She needs only a reason, petty or huge.

Then comes the slight:
The invitation that never appears,
The paper that never comes to slice along her fingers
And make her smile once more.

She does not smile for such things,
Though she dances inside;
Her strife will come for this: she is ready,
And she is more than willing.

A twist of the hand, flinging up that ball of gold,
It lands at the feet of three and she sits back, smiling,
As the arguments unfurl,
And the countdown to war begins.


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