“Dream of Queen Katherine,” Henry Fuseli, WikiArt.

Part 2: Womb-Wrested Girl Infant

Pre-dawn alarms clanging, Aketra’s bed cold-
Empty, disappeared from family cottage, into
Black pines wandered, ferns trampled, torn
Clothing found amongst branches, fillets lost
From hair, parents glimpsed naked daughter
Surrounded by revolving solar beams, sunrise
Blinding overhead, melodic voices cloud-rising,
Bloody gown at parents’ feet, warm placenta
Wrapped within. Aketra listless-pale, infant
Child wrested from her womb. By whose
Hand, what purpose such acts committed?

“Living-light, mother, took my baby,” moaned
Aketra. “Called it ‘oracular girl.’” Lo! Deific-
Seed impregnated Aketra, premature infant
Ascended into life-breathing light, ambrosial
Breast nursed, female child both mortal and
Divine, raised amongst the gods on Œtean
Mountain glens and glades, mother, Aketra,
Never known. Yet, few weeks after returning
To oracular temple, Aketra felt yearnings,
Maternal ties, child to mountain shepherdess,
Ties to family, sunlit grazing meadows.

As months passed, Aketra endured pained
Torment, oracular visions as gods do see,
Though forsaken of her girl, she prayed to
Gods, old and new, for her safe return. Dark-
Cloaked figure approached, taken to his
Knees, bowed forehead touching Aketra’s
Feet, asking not questions but statements
Equal to her responses. “I speak of righting
Wrongs, that acquired by machinations, will
Be returned by same.” Aketra nodded, saying,
“We shall never speak each other’s name.”

“Back View of Bather,” Francesco Hayez, 1859, WikiArt photo.

Papyrus roll cloaked elder-man extended to
Aketra, words and numbers admixed, to eyes
Untrained all gibberish, decrypted to reveal:
“Daughter favoured of the gods resides on
Fair fields of Thessaly, vulnerable where she
Bathes, her gowns and guards astray, honeyed
Flesh inflamed by bee stings. Search evening
Skies, bright star Hesperia.” Lo! Where and
How were given, elusive name to crone-pursue,
Gifts of food and furs, oracle Aketra became
Apiarist face-veiled.

Her daughter absconded by mysterious lights, Aketra seeks Hesperia.

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