Grecian dysphoria

poem by SARAH STEVENS collage by MORGAN BASS
AUTHOR'S NOTE:
This poem is partially inspired by the fact that I've been reading a lot of Greek drama for my Mythology class and partially inspired by the fact that I identify as genderqueer. Greek mythology is full of transformation and change, which has been a big part of my identity so far. I don't even understand myself all of the time, so my recent realization that the self isn't stagnant or tied to a single moment felt groundbreaking.

My body is a temple to false gods:
A heart that breathes
Lungs that beat
My eyes are my prophecies and
Like the Sibyl
I pay for looking inward
When I look outward —
My skin crawls off my shoulders
When I look in the mirror.
Some monster has taken my shape —
Some God has given me
A distorted form —
I started out flesh and ended up feathers
Some would say that’s better
But is it, really
If I am Phaeton, too close to the sky
If I am Icarus, whose feathers are false
If I am a creature who loves the sea
And the smell of earthy rain
And the clay that I was made of?

My body is a temple to false gods
But I am my own idol
And I can desecrate my temple
However I want.
Knowing this,
and myself,
And the world,
I take Atlas by the throat
Watch the globe tip from his hands
And take it upon myself
To catch it.
It’s no more than a warm palmful
Compared to me.
I take myself
and my world
and shape them
With hands that no longer shake.

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