Tuesday, 3 April 2012

The Minotaur

If I could unflinch, I would stand straight. I would lift my great head and meet you eye to eye.

Eat, sleep, stretch, bellow. My life in the labyrinth shrinks to unimaginable dimensions, mythically proportioned. My father, the king, uses me as a threat to Athens. My massive frame, cooped under metal and wet stone, perpetuates their distant nightmares. My hooves trample their dreams. Every year fourteen new virgins are paraded down the labyrinthine stairs in sacrificial stupor, as I get hungrier and angrier. Why am I grown so brutal? In bitter mud I stamp my skittish heart, as if I could see the print of an answer there.What do I see? I am black of eye. My ear is pierced in gold. My body is the pewter colour of sea under a storm.

At dusk, I am allowed out, and I emerge from this place, blinking and wondering if it has been this beautiful all day. The briar rose is spilled perfume across the entrance to my cave. I lift up my hands to the sky and my nails are the colour of hyacinth bulbs. I turn my hands over and marvel at them. It seems to me they are the hands of a king. They should be gloved and jewelled, but they are bruised and derelict. My misshapen life is too heavy for my shoulders, I can barely lift my head to look at the emerging moon. Above us scrolls the mighty wheel of signs and portents. Feathers fly through the air. The angels, or something very like them, have been here. My bull eyes roll backwards and fear licks the back of my throat.

Now they will bring a citizen for my sport. Let the killing time begin,  behind me somewhere, the monstrous royal is baying for blood. My eye sharpens you into movement as though you feel the flick of it upon you. I am the sound of distant thunder. I am the taste of bile. Very soon, all that's left is the thick scent of blood and the whole burly ritual will be over for another day.


smayoke said...

Wow, Claire. Powerful stuff!

Morven said...

I love it. Brutal but beautiful. We are all minotaurs.