By Charlotte Hussey
It stands primly at the pond’s edge,
fashioned from the salvaged boards
of a damaged canoe. Its back
rises up so high that any pair
of sagging shoulders, any spine,
if leaned against it, might straighten
like those of some proud queen;
stripped of all adornment,
its seat waits empty, bluish with shadow.
Its wavy grains, opened by the seas,
suggest stretch marks, or muscles
pulled thin and apart in agony.
Rocks, sands have scraped gashes,
as did the bony claws that reached
through the blackthorn hedge
to steal the just born Pryderi
from Rhiannon, asleep and bloodied
on this her perilous throne.
Elegant reeds bend close,
their tawny, crinkled tassels,
like the golden forelocks of her horses,
spilling down. Ripples of wind
pass through their long-necked throng.
Their protective shadows sway over
my fingers that grip the sculpted ends
of each solid armrest, offering
support, comfort to the skin, the bones
of my own resolute arms.
Charlotte Hussey, who has an MFA from Warren Wilson College, teaches medieval literature at Montreal’s Dawson College. She has published Rue Sainte Famille and The Head Will Continue to Sing. Completing a McGill University doctorate on the poet H.D. awakened her love of antiquity and led to her publication of Glossing the Spoils, a collection drawing on Western European mythologies that came out in the UK in a second edition in 2017. Her poems can be found in Garden Varieties: An Anthology of the Top Fifty Poems from the National Poetry Contest; 150+ Canada’s History in Poetry; Soul of the Earth: the Awen Anthology of Eco-spiritual Poetry; Pagan Muse: Poems of Wisdom and Inspiration, and in the forthcoming Awenydd at the Crossroads Anthology. Her work appears in numerous literary magazines in Canada, the UK, and the US. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org