some hear the song
& ask me of my children:
what’s it like to be the mother of sirens?
            they curl their lips
            & snarl around the syllables

they mean to say,
what is it like to raise sluts
who draw men off their sacred path?

what’s like to be the minor character
in every story?

it is not my job to protect weak-willed men
who long to be seduced
but curse the ones who’ve master the art

Sirens are the call of emergency
Call to darkness.
the warning in any myth.

Sirens may save your life
or end it
you will not know which
until the morning comes

they want to know what It’s like
to have birthed such dangerous creatures

did it ever occur to you
that my children
flee their home
convene in isolation,
shield themselves with bladed rocks
because you are the dangerous ones?


Copyright © Assétou Xango. Used with permission of the author.