“Girl with Bouquet,” Konstantin Makovsky, 1876, WikiArt.

Part 4: Cilla and Parthenope

Death of Parthenope, skeletons articulated,
Fleshed vitality regained, fruit and honeyed
Bread we feasted, Kardelen, heroine, lover’s
Agate amulet returned, free of chains and
Shackles, I slept in temple naos, comfort of
Goddess’ feathered bed, dreams reuniting
With my lover, Abreas, face and voice now
Distant, no message sent of safe arrival on
Nyos, island of the dead, reassurance of my
Confidant given, older woman, named Cilla,
Youth and beauty restored, lost since Greek
Dark ages, dagger ready, ever at my side.

Full moon eclipsed by cloud, boiling seas
Erupted, repugnant screeches echoing from
Clifftops, Parthenope as wingéd specter
Descended on column-tops, body assumed
Of dear Cilla, dagger fight ensued. Bronze
Blades gleaming by oil-torch light. How could
I harm my protectress, one who existed decades
As desiccated bones? First bloodletting slash
By Parthenope, gown at shoulder fell, took
Aim again, glittering eyes ready for the kill.
Alas! Cilla pulled oil-spilling torch light
Upon herself, burned alive in roaring blaze.

Duality of screams I heard, wrecking soul
And mind, two voices joined in burning
Pain, yet for Parthenope, I felt her deific
Light dissolve, defeated by stronger forces,
Cilla’s ancient prowess, flame-alighted
Chants and spells, sloven-soaring goddess
Could not repel. Lo! Brittle-burned skeleton
Cilla was reduced, blackened flesh, hair
And scalp still clinging to smoldering skull.
Bones pieced together as I could, linen
Swaddled with flowers, placed on temple
Altar, we danced and prayed till dawn.

“Hymenaios Disguised as a Woman…” Nicolas Poussin, 1638, WikiArt.

Amidst mourning skeletons, holding bony
Hands, we chanted aloud to ancient gods,
Names, realms unknown. I cared not who
Saved her, such strength to animate the
Dead. “Return Cilla to me, any price will
Pay!” Echoing voice demanded, “Your blood,
Agate amulet on burned body!” Torn from
My neck, dagger brought across my palm,
Dripping blood brought screams at altar,
Cilla returned to life, horrid face, marbled
Flesh and bone, shriveled limbs, body
Transformed to walking foul and gore.

For now, Cilla wanders aimlessly on this death isle, neither dead nor
alive, Parthenope believed to be dissolved to aether. Perhaps they will
meet again.Thanks for reading.   

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