“Poor Lisa,” Orest Kiprensky, 1827, WikiArt.

Part 1: Wings Fluttering

Night awakening, moon eclipsing, ancient
Darkness swept across Œtean mountaintops
And vales, presence feared and unspoken,
Visions received as hovel-secreted seer,
Images flame-spoken, young maiden,
Abdomen round with child, she seeks my
Sighted wisdom, source of seed planted,
She knows not the father, nor relations with
Man. Lo! I see her climbing arduous trail,
Against will of bittern shade.

Sandaled foot at edge of rocky cliff, she
Prayed to gods, old and new, quickening
Within her womb. “Arisbe!” accurséd
Beckoned her. O! Conflicted fates, grain
Upon threshing floor, I perceived over-
Powering torrent, her path impeded. Fears
Flame-revealed, slim ankle rock-twisted,
Child plummeting from cliff face, or game
Of chance we gambled, bestial eyes and
Myself crazed, I looked not upon beakéd
Face, bones cast, vile thoughts mind-crushing.

Alas! Morning mist, Arisbe arrived, naiveté
Heavy-burdened, gates of darkness out-
Pouring, stench of tormentum, greeted by
Both I was. “Holy Mother,” she addressed
Me on prayerful knees, penitent forehead
Earth touching. She knows me not, for I am
Iskaria, coin-side of dismay, potions, spells,
Chants raised to life mummified bones of
Dead. Yet, with hands outstretched I pulled
Her to my breast, protective embrace, our
Fates conjoined by blood, by death if be.

“Portrait of an Old Woman,” Guido Reni, 1630, WikiArt photo.

“Child I carry is of no man,” Arisbe tear-
Confessed. In silence I listened, her heart
I knew from birth. “Those I meet along my
Path fall ill, vomiting their bowels.” Thus,
Suspicions were confirmed, young female
Body taken in night dreams, impregnated by
Wings fluttering. “You must love this child,”
Aloud I boasted. “Nurture him, raise him as
This deity decrees.” At this, she recoiled,
Until in confidence, my hand squeezed hers,
Our eyes met, secrets in silence concealed.

Short series of Ovidian metamorphosis, how will Iskaria save Arisbe?
By bone-resurrecting potions, chants, and spells? We 
will discover in Part 2.
Thanks for reading.  

Social profiles