Self Portrait as Maenad

Daniel T. O'Brien

The men are at home nursing
their unhealthy minds. I beat

& beat my hands against earth
in frenzy—groping & groping

up the mountain path. A priestess
am I, and I will perform

for you. Oh, to be unplucked—
to pulse to my God’s rhythm.

Effortless effort. How sweet death
feels around my body.

The city is in bloom.

It is then, that a girl like me knows happiness.

Though they may come
with manacle & brace, afraid of capture

I am not. To be clapped
into iron, to be locked behind

bars cannot keep me
from the dance.