Bequeathed, by Camille LeFevre
Grendel’s mother, feral Queen,
crouches in her cave of grief,
a grisly slab of Beowulf’s sword arm,
on a rusted harrow bowl,
or better his head,
a tangled mess of text, Medusa-like,
all the versions of her story,
eaten up in vindication
of this wronged woman warrior,
her point of view now,
bound in lead, beeswax, gold.
Vampire, ageless and regal,
claims she isn’t fussy,
yet only the bloodiest Bordeaux will do,
leaving the golden sphere bobbing in Bacchus’s hand
or tenderly balanced in her palm as she drinks,
her conquests arrayed
on skin as distressed as her cloak,
and in worlds bound by her mind, bodies
of text, from all the libraries in the world,
by the Queen of the night.
A mother’s daughter, whose punishment? eats only words,
stripped and tangled on a platter, harrowing
her starvation a plumb bob, true vertical,
a glass vial for her reign of tears,
vows to eat the bloody steak with her father,
not now, not here, though. Only books,
she screams, waving her rusty sceptre, her iron will
bound by the bequeathed. Fiercely diminished,
she is discernment,
Lording over inherited darkness,
her alchemical array.
Neat trick, says Vampire,
as daughter snaps skin from table, cloaks her shoulders
eleven objects, exquisite, disappeared
from mother’s lair
only shadows left, repositories
of grief, famine, war, despair.
She strides, sovereign,
into the fullness, of new stories,
a Queen herself, issuing edict,
not of bequeathal
but of becoming.
Camille LeFevre is an arts journalist, writes memoir and other creative nonfiction, and practices and teaches ekphrastic writing. She lives in northern Arizona.
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