to the littlest goddess, whose shield is thunder by Hannah Hamilton

to the littlest goddess, whose shield is thunder

even when my body has chills from ricocheting off
the deadly frozen icecavern walls of tooearly morning,
3 am, having slithered into a pile of delicate wash
clothing straight from the dryer, piping hot,

my body as wooden
as pinocchio’s and
as smoothflanked as a
sharpened knife’s

with all this skin under skin and childish blood
under wise blood and trepidatious knees quaking from
temperature. even when my body is absorbing change
as merciless as pulling apart helpless hunks of beef,
the tug and resistance of muscle and nicked gullet.

even when
my body

undergoes the carnage of the journey home. even
when dido climbs into the funeral pyre in front
of me, using aeneas’ sword to run herself through
as if she made him use his own hand. even when that
is how i best identify with the way love returns to us.

my love, you were always going to touch darkness,
cut it into smoky-tendriled strips to tie around
your emboldened biceps. my love, you were always
going to bite the jugfanged vipers back and paralyze
them with your pluminfused venom. how young you are

even when my body senses the cadence and coda of
your hoarfrosted uncradling. how cruel for you
to discover the jewels & fulgent gems embedded
in your slender fingers, making everything you hold

shudder with reverence. even when my body is
recovering from the plague of locusts it has
expelled, repeatedly, into the world, it wants you

to know this better than your own name: that some
people shout into the abyss and confirm the abyss,
but when you shout into the abyss, i will emerge
from it. having been resting, dreaming of black
waves and sea monsters flashing lightningbright
beneath them. having been waiting for your call.

even when my body is just remembering
its opalencrusted armour and jungle shrines.
even when my body struggles with its own beauty & truth,

it has never doubted yours
for a single fumbling


Hannah Hamilton is a poor college student studying literature in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who has a beautiful close-knit family and a lot of things to do before it’s time for her to hop on Charon’s ferry and hightail it down the River Acheron.

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