Why would I not be afraid
of wings wrenching the air above my head, of eyes
round and glimmering black fixed to my body?
Why would I not dread
the beak of a beast who can peck my skin and bones,
who can make a daughter who eclipses me?
I have heard of Leda,
trusting the white swan,
standing still as it neared, reaching
for its long body.
Feathers filled her mouth,
heavy wings pressed her to ground.
I learned to fear early,
to flee all winged things,
to make spikes of my thighs and daggers
of my hands,
to weave my body from thorns
until nothing that comes
from the sky could ever land here.