Words: Faith Thurnwald
Photography: Anonymous
Model: Anonymous
Before anything else it was the noise I heard.
A carnivorous cracking,
Splinters my skin.
My eardrums, rough, red and wracking.


The earth shook me down to my knees,
And quivering there I stayed.
Hands in the dirt, fisting for grip,
Flayed out on the earth I lay afraid.


For the sky rained ash and blood,
And the ocean turned black with soot.
I lost my grip as dirt turned muddy,
And here I shook completely caput.


I thought my eyes betrayed me,
As I wipe hot ash from them.
The ring of my retinas burn,
But the root of clarity stems.


Through apocalyptic odds;
My clarity, crystal clear.
I see her rise,
And I feel fraught with fear.


For look how she graced this earth,
Born through violence and vitality.
She who brings Gods –
To question their own mortality.


But mortal he was not,
And so survived her birth of death.
His skull: an eggshell opening,
Blood flowing like rivers from hands of Macbeth.


His screams, a thunderbolt;
Cracking open the night,
As pulsating pain explodes his brain.
This, his punishment and his plight.


Hermes and Hephaestus rushed to his eggshell head,
And like I said, open it did crack.
With wedge in hand, Hephaestus threw.
Yolk sliding and slipping they drew aback.


As they gaze and gape at the sight upon them,
I share in their shock.
Awe struck as I stare at the sky,
Pinned down and heavy like a rock.


As a mere mortal I lay,
At the mercy of the Gods.
For in deep fear,
I forever fathom my irrefutable odds.


But – oh, for the birth of Athena,
That sight could never dwindle.
Not with the tides of time;
In my memory it will always rekindle.


And so this is what I sought to see,
The image forever stuck in my memory:
Athena rising from fractured skull,
Sheathing a sword and covered in full armoury.


Light seeped off her silver silhouette,
Piercing the sky bright.
The birth of Athena,
Leaves me laying in absolute delight.


Out from her father’s sin she sprang,
Child of a mother consumed
And born in his bowls,
She lived temporarily entombed.


Metis; a victim of Zeus’s detrimental desire.
Her, he raped and ravished
And once sated and placated,
Thought, who next to lay and lavish?


Although, content he did not stay,
For prophecy prevails,
The fruit of Metis’s womb: ripe.
A child to foretell ominous tales.


But greatness grows in the bowls of Gods,
Her birth inexplicably inevitable,
And like a seed to sun,
She rose, her bastard birth irrevocable.


A Goddess wielding wisdom and warfare,
Her grey-eyes deep but shallow.
She’ll send you insane,
And leave you hollow and harrowed.


Look as I lay naked upon the hard earth,
The Gods peering through veneered voyeurism.
Tied as I am to this mortal coil,
Restrained, yet bursting like an aneurysm.


Athena’s owl joins the Gods in looking down at me,
Through those whirlpool eyes.
In his nocturnal nightmare I live,
And I believe her wisdom like lies.


I lay next to the olive tree
And like sediment we settle in the soil.
The Mediterranean, rich with our exploitation;
Olive leaf crowns and seeping oil.


The birth of Athena,
Olive tree, owl and city.
A Goddess separate from sin and seduction,
Like father, not like daughter; a pity.


She bore cities not children,
And she brought gifts to Gods and men alike.
She, the virgin mary of Greek mythology,
A strong stance or a strike?


For Athena is a Goddess, and I am woman,
And we’re both our father’s favorites.
She breaks skulls like shells,
Stands sheathed with sword and shield.
Yet I, naked in this futile flesh; with no power to yield.