Black Widow

Wherever I may go, for in my mind

I am always leaving to go somewhere, remember

it isn’t you I leave behind,

but myself,

Heiderose, rose of the Heide, the heath,

the name my father chose

against my mother’s wishes.

But what’s in a name? Don’t you see

how exhausted I’ve become by the world’s insistence on labels:

bi-polar, half-breed, addict, refugee, wife, mother, child.

I am all of these and more.

I am the forest Orpheus planted when he returned whetted

and alone from the underworld. I am the Thracian woman

who hacked off his head and hung it singing in a tree.

I am the robin who built a nest out of grass and hair

in its branches. Don’t you see

I never wanted to be born, my birth certificate

a yellowed piece of paper fraying along the folds

and stamped with a swastika, a black spider

spinning a web in my head. I’ve seen it

crawl across the bed, but am afraid to kill it,

to squash it with oppression’s heel.

Don’t you see?

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