Phryne the Impious
Phryne the beautiful courtesan of whom it was said
her glorious body odor shamed the rose
one day found herself in trouble, accused of impiety.
She trembled before the basalt-eyed jurors.
She could feel the cold reeking cheek of the cup of hemlock
jammed against her own
when suddenly her lawyer in lewd inspiration
ripped her gown open from throat to waist.
Now it was the jurors who trembled.
They found her innocent on the spot.
The lawyer juror contended,
"Just because she did it doesn't mean she's guilty."
The priest juror reasoned,
"The gods must have loved Phryne very much
to give her this righteous pair."
The scholar juror noted, "Her bust is classically bathykolpian,
if we give Bathy and Kolpos their ancient meanings of
Deep and Gulf. Let the fair-clefted darlings swing free!"
The goat farmer juror thought of his randy ungulates
and stared at her with his dirty, pretty yellow eyes.
He mumbled, "Plenty of the best cream went into those.
I'd like to be her goat daddy, prance on my cloven hooves
up and down the sway of her spine
and bleat my moans on her hip gold."
Another sighed only, "Sweet honey in the rock."
But the last juror of all remembered a flower he'd seen,
impossibly rooted in a wall of stone:
the flushed round of a peony gazing up
with its pointed red-gold eye,
lifting its pink to the dangerous sky.
Margaret Benbow: "My poems have been published in The Georgia Review, The Antioch Review, and many other places. The collection STALKING JOY won the Walt McDonald First Book award, and was published by TTUP. I also write fiction. BOY INTO PANTHER AND OTHER STORIES won the Many Voices Project award, and was printed in 2018 by New Rivers Press."
The Ekphrastic Review
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