Ariadne Plays the Physician
We must set this story straight. We must say there is another angle to this foreign particle lodged in my ribs like a small ivory tiger or a Chinese lamp, the oil coating my bones. Theseus, you know you didn't break me. I was the one who came to you with a magnifying glass, needing my Oxford credits for the University of Someone Wants Me: my gold-sealed social stigma. I made my own marks. & everyone should know it—I have an A+ in the humors of you. I was an Edison bulb in a child’s bedchamber, a Spanish fan flirting with fire, smoking as pity turned to shock at mediocre parties where conversations are weak with the ordinary. My outfit betrayed me—you wept right through my clinical gloves like a little boy with a bad heart & a mean streak. I monitored your ailments, but my logic was circular: What is man? What is man? What is this man doing here with me? No bright conclusion. I was bad at doctoring the truth. I was in it for myself. & the skull I carried in my hand in case anyone took record? Still on my fingers.
From Virgin (Milkweed Editions, 2018) by Analicia Sotelo. Reprinted with permission of the author and Milkweed Editions. Copyright © 2017 Analicia Sotelo. This poem originally appeared in Kenyon Review, November/December 2017.