I had to invent a goddess.
No smoldering sacrifice, but fire
and the altar’s stone shoulders.
No holy vessel, no conduit.
How much truer to be the artist
sweating, with clay-smeared knuckles.

After so many years of HeHimHis,
I had to invent a goddess.
How could I not? denied
even the woman in blue,
even neutered as she was,
clit cut out, the better to grieve.

How could I not, your body unfurled
around your bones like north/south
curled around a magnet’s poles,
my every hair a filament,
my every vein a wire. Wrong,
wrong. I nearly wept the iron out.

And later, sewing my tongue back in,
I gave Her two faces, one lovely,
a face for planting and blooming,
and one face for rage, for tooth-screech and blood.
A nice girl effaces herself to death.
A nice girl dies faceless. A nice girl dies.

Burnt earth is better for flowers, anyway.
Let the ground be vessel now, and let us eat.


Tammy Bendetti is a tiny, loud, queer poet who lives and works in Colorado with her husband and two little daughters. When she’s not writing, she enjoys painting and dancing badly. She is currently wondering how to raise girls who will actually eat their broccoli and say please, but still become fierce, outspoken women. Her work has most recently been published in Grand Valley Magazine, Alyss, and Right Hand Pointing. 

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