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Final Print

Cynthia Davidson
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Table of Contents
Daffy 3
Final Print 4
Athenas Gestation 6
Delos 8
Kaput !
Athenas "other #
A$%no&led'e(ents )
*io'raphy )
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Daffy
The (an &ho turned into an ash
&as very far fro( the &orld of (en
any&ay+ (ore of a $at,
-hen he bent the &ind instru$ted+
the dandelions brayed,
A $o&bell 'ra.ed latinate,
/t &as his stri$t upbrin'in'
san' a splendid (any ton'ue+
desire that &as all ear
&ill enter into (any $enturies
li%e the vo(it of stars
passin' to bla$%+ bla$% $o(edy,
The (an &ho turned into an ash
slipped into the li'ht li%e 0i( *ea(
&hen he s(iles+ pronoun$ed
li%e 'old+ raised
li%e the 1thernet+ hit
li%e a 2a$%pot in 0ersey City,
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Final Print
,
3ou hate photo'raphs, 3et
&ithin any fra(e you so(eho&
for( an outline &ithin
the peri(eter of your absen$e4
pre5$olor history &aitin'
to be filled &ith the trivia
of shootin' stars or idle $hat
that ri$o$het li%e pinballs,
/n ea$h un$ropped proof
/ sense you bleedin' off the ed'e
&ith perhaps a do' $o(panion
or a $o$%atoo per$hed on your head,
6one of you are 7uite hu(an,
Fro( $ertain an'les+ you see(
eternally patient+ tryin' and dis$ardin'
all the ne$essary sepia of evenin'+
hopin' to one day find
a tone that &ill render
you invisible to all
but do's+ $o$%atoos+ (usi$ians+ able $oo%s+
and the inevitably obstinate of heart,
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),
/snt this the (essa'e you feared8
Dont &orry+ its probably 'ood ne&s
in an alien ton'ue, /n
your o&n lan'ua'e+ soft eyes
deliver the (essa'es of death
and $orn $ant 'ro&+ door%nobs
fly off+ (i$ro&aves e9plode
throu'hout the ni'ht, *y (y &ords
/ delivered these thin's to (yself,
Ge(ini i(ploded the ni'ht
/ &as born+ (anifestin' itself
in a (ass and a ti(e, "er$ury
lay fused to (y heart+ $urled and $ursin'
in the pla$e fro( &hi$h he &as destined
to flee, :ui$%silver sty(ied+
he t&isted poison in ea$h of (y drea(s+
soa%in' the( in a silver slud'e
till the third fi'ure $ould not be seen
in any final print, -hen he finally
e(er'ed+ he &as $rippled+ false ;ul$an+
of no use as a (essen'er,
3,
<-ith &in's+= said (y friend+
</ have no need of these+= and
$ast off le's+ revealin'
a $o(et of fla(e that 2ettisoned
hi( fro( (y s%y, Gro&th o$$urs
%no&in' &hat (ust be $ropped
or hidden fro( li'ht, A $hild
%no&s only li'ht tea$hes $ontinuity+
that ob2e$ts fli$%er in dar%ness
as if the fil( in her heart (i'ht brea%,
>he holds that rosary ti'ht in her dar% fist,
*ut ti(e tea$hes other lessons4
ho& another $an enter and leave
these fra(es durin' dar% hours
li%e a deer at the ed'e of a $learin',
?o&+ in 'entle and 'radual doses+
color lays on its healing hands.
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Athenas Gestation
, /ris to @eus
-ords that dont belon' to (e
are the na(es of flo&ers+
the na(es of $olors on the side+
the o(ission of na(es
are those &ords,
/ &ant to learn
the na(es fro( the flo&ers,
/ dont $are about you+
6e$essity+ dead lan'ua'e
of the blind,
/ (i(i$ a do' in the dar%,
1verythin' strea(s in
as you+ 'iven the (oni%er
of li'ht,
Then there is no you,
A slo& pirouette in a sea
of &ar(th, There are
no vo&els any(ore,
*ut eventually &e $reated
you+ to'ether, Do you li%e you8
-e $reated a trapdoor
so you $ould es$ape yourself+
so(eti(es,
3ou let yourself into a sea
of propriety+ a pla$e
/ $ould not enter
as (yself, There you dan$ed
li%e a (an,
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), "etis
/nside @eus+
/ a( a lan'ua'e lab+
a s$ientist and a rat
in one enun$iated 'esture,
?ere is (y base+
(y so$iety+ (y (ilieu,
Ather are here+ but &e are
a s&irlin' rainbo& in a (irror+
&aitin' not for $ure
but release alon' the va$an$ies
that ti(e provides for us,
-hen ti(e allo&s+
&e leave the (irror+
abandonin' for a &hile our brethren,
The ones &ith na(es &ill venture
shyly+ $lin'in' to our hair+ our s%in
li%e stardust, -e radiate
the fa(ily tree &ithout roots,
Bater+ they re(e(ber our dan$in'
as their o&n narrative,
They shuffle our 'estures
and read the( as the future,
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Delos
Asteria floated
'ro&in'
her (edi$inal
flo&ers
pooled
by Poseidon
du$%s and 'eese
flyin' vi$tory
till her sisters
s$rea(s
stilled her
station point
Cained
a bla$% $urtain
of prote$tion
'lassli%e
?era sa& throu'h
fury in defeat
t&istin' her s%irts
da..lin'
failin' to brea%
the 'loo(
fists of ro$%s
hurlin' dia(onds
at Beto
6ine days
she $lut$hed at a tree
&ith her teeth
her hands li%e $la&s
the 'oddesses offerin'
sy(pathy
but little else
Bi%e a fa&n
Arte(is landed
on her blood5$oated
feet
nu..lin' Apollo
as he e(er'ed
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Asteria ble&
a&ay the dar% $loud
su$%led ?eras dia(onds
&ithin her 'reat $ore
pushed her bloo(s
bet&een her nephe&s
eyes
into his 'ods spine
he be'an to shoot up
stal%ed a deer
t&ea%ed his sisters nipple
&ithered
under her autu(nal 'a.e
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Kaput
<Fro( &hi$h the &ord
&ill issue forth=
/,
"ania
&as an /talian divinity
of the lo&er
&orld,
1ri'one
&as an Athenian
and the dau'hter
of /$arius,
At the
$rossroads+
at the festival
of the souls
i(a'es
&ere hun'
to avert evil,
Bater+
substitutions
&ere (ade,
10
//,
Bost /ndo51uropean
kaput,
root of $aptain
and de$apitate,
Medusas head
was affixed
to the center
of Athenas shield,
where it served
to avert evil
Dfro( Batin
vertere
to turn
A1 scrincan
to &ither
to shrivel
by &ay of /ndo5
1uropean
sker-
to turn+
also
to void e9$re(entE,
This is
the %orFonos+
the $ro&n
be2e&eled
and $ir$u(s$ribed,
A dead &o(ans
'a.e
han's
fro( the shield
of a (otherless
'oddess+
her o&n eyes
benevolent+
ali'ht,
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*ut the do'+
Cerebrus+
had three heads
or fifty+
tail of a serpent,
>o(eti(es+ then+
the $la&s
of a lion,
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///,
Try to purchase
a long string
of garlic,
generally available
in autumn.
ang it
in the corner
of your kitchen,
and use it
for the year.
!f you must purchase
garlic in the
supermarket,
be careful
to find full heads
because most
of the product
has spent
a good deal of time
in cold storage
and has probably
dried out.
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/;,
At the Co(pitalia+
the festival
of the $rossroads+
she &as &orshipped
but later
in the plural Maniae
used by nurses
to threaten $hildren,
A very an$ient
de$ree
fro( an ora$le
that heads
should be offered
to herG
later 'arli$
and poppy
heads
&ere substituted
for the heads of boys,
?er o&n i(a'e
hun'
in door&ays
to avert evilG
then spe$ters
invo%ed
to terrify
unruly $hildren,
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;,
Take sulphur
from "ol
for the fire
and with it
roast #una.
</ %no& this
sounds a bit
stran'e to you+
but on$e you have
tried it+ you
&ill offer it
to your fa(ily
and friends
on a re'ular
basis, 6o+
it is not stron'
at all,=
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;/,
Poppy
seed5heads
(oonberries
&ere 'ilded
and &orn
as talis(ans
to dra&
&ealth
*lind *uff
and
*lindeys
?eada$hes
and
?ead -aa%,
These plants+
it is &ritten+
pro(ote
fertility+
love+
sleep+
(oney+
lu$%+
invisibility,
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;//,
1ri'one &as sedu$ed
by Dionysus
in the for(
of a $luster
of 'rapes,
?e brou'ht
the 'rapes to earth
and she+ deli'hted
to share the 'ift
&ith her father
han'ed herself
The shepherds %illed
her father
thin%in' the &ine
&as poison
The an'ry 'od
drove the youn'
&o(en of Athens
all han'ed
(ad
Bater 1ri'one
&as honored
&ith a festival
and a feast
durin' &hi$h
s(all dis%s
de$orated &ith heads
&ere hun'
fro( trees,
And+ no doubt+
the &ine
flo&ed freely,
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;//,
<>oa% poppy seeds
in &ine
for fifteen days,
Then drin%
the &ine
ea$h day
for five days
&hile fastin',
A$$ordin' to
tradition
you &ill
be able to
(a%e yourself
invisible
at &ill,=
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/H,
1ntoria
&as the dau'hter
of a Co(an far(er
&ho sho&ed
a 'od
the &ay
to her bedroo(4
four ripe sons
and the 'ift
of vitis vinifera.
6ot Dionysus+
but >aturnI
The nei'hbors
in drun%enness
&ere+ perhaps+
the a'ents
of his fa(ous
li(itation8
The 'randsons4
0anus
?y(nus
Faustus
Feli9
han'ed
the(selves
in 'rief
Dtheir father stonedE,
>o it is told,
A te(ple
for a pla'ue+
four boys fa$es
for the (any 'irls+
an altar
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for a 'rove
of trees,
A $onstellation
for a festival,
Plutar$h
held this
identi$al
to the story
of 1ri'one,
20
H,
$ainters, especially
in the eighteenth
century, usually
depicted %rigone
being seduced
by a cluster
of grapes.
&arle van #oo shows
%rigone plucking
a bunch of grapes
while ga'ing
defiantly
at the viewer.
(atoire placed
%rigone
in the foreground
of a sweeping
composition entitled
Triumph of )acchus*
visibly predisposed
toward pleasure,
%rigone fixes
her ga'e
on the cluster
of grapes
she is about
to devour.
21
H/,
<To 'et
the s(ell
of 'arli$
off your hands+
si(ply rub
your hands
in used
$offee
'rounds,
/n /taly
it is $o((on
to eat
a &hole
$offee bean
after a bi' (eal
so that
your lover
&ill not
be bothered
by 'arli$,=
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Athenas "other
Bi%e father
li%e son4
youn' @eus
developed a pen$hant
for $onsu(in'
(e(bers of
his household,
?is first lover
poured herself
out of his rea$h
but Dit is saidE
eventually
su$$u(bed,
They de$orated
and dan$ed
but &ere haunted
by prophe$y,
Ane stated
that "etis &ould bear
first a 'irl+ then a boy
&ho &ould $ut
@eus
li%e a tree,
The 'od in hi( &as a'in'+
turnin' hard
li%e fossil+
and @eus %ne&
if this boy $ut hi(
he &ould not sprin'
fro( buried roots+
but shatter
li%e a stone,
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"etis &as a $lever ny(ph
but de$ided not to run,
/t &as she
&ho su''ested
the bin'e5and5pur'e (ethod
for old Cronus,
/t &as she
&ho planted
seeds of doubt and invention
in @eus (ind,
>tories say
Athena sprun'
un(othered
fro( @eus head+
but "etis &as there+
follo&in' the tradition
of ny(phs
be$o(in'
invisible+ never 7uite dead,
A$ean5born+
she e9isted under a 'ods s%in
as a Dryade $lin's to her tree+
her fate bound to his
li%e fossili.ed bar%,
?er dau'hter bypassed
the usual es$apes+
rivalin' her fathers
trans$endent hubris,
>till+ it &as "etis
&hose blood
she 'ently 'athered
fro( the folds
of Aly(pian brain+
"etis &hose silver &aves
lur$hed propheti$ally
fro( the 'lea(
of Athenas eyes,
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A$%no&led'e(ents
<Athenas Gestation+= <Delos+= <Athenas "other+= and <Kaput= &ere previously
published in Muse Apprentice +uild.
An earlier version of <Final Print= &as published in ,illow -eview.
Ceferen$es for <Kaput=4
Pa'e !+ 1pi'raph+ and pa'e 3+ pt, ; Din itali$sE4 "atthias+ 0ohn, <Turns4 To&ard a
Provisional Aestheti$ and a Dis$ipline,= Turns. Chi$a'o4 >&allo&+ #J3, J5JJ,
Pa'e + pt, ///G pa'e 3+ pt, ; Din 7uotesEG pa'e #+ pt, H/4 >(ith+ 0eff, <Garli$,= The
.rugal +ourmet. 6e& 3or%4 "orro&+ #84, )J65)8!
Pa'e J+ pt, H4 A'hion+ /rKne+ et, al, <1ri'one,= +ods and eroes of &lassical
Anti/uity. Paris4 Fla((arion+ ##6, )!5),
Pa'e L+ pt, ;/4 Cunnin'ha(+ >$ott, <Poppy,= &unninghams %ncyclopedia of Magical
erbs. >t, Paul4 Ble&eyllyn+ ##6, 8)583,
*io'raphy
Cynthia Davidson studied &ritin'+ literature+ and $riti$is( at the Mniversity of /llinois5
Chi$a'o+ and tea$hes &ritin' at >tony *roo% Mniversity,
,
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