Spring 1990 • Vol. XII No. 2 |

Leda’s Handmaiden

I was Leda's intimate, and slave, born, as I was, on the losing side, where the mind grows agile, and the heart's true tongue learns to put on fable for disguise. Take, for example, the swan—it came to me as we shook the pillows out and a few white feathers flew. How she laughed when I spoke the thought aloud—how the god would rape her in the swan's white shape with the winged ease of miracle, but big, believable: the serpent's neck, the malign eye, the yellow webs of its feet pinning her arms, the terrible beak—Zeus, a perfect cover for a king too old for love in whom the dry seed rattled like a gourd. Now I look back, I think perhaps the fabrication a mistake—fuel to set the bright sparks of desire ablaze, a whetstone to ambition's extra axe-bright edge. Though everything can be forgotten, or so sunk in memory's swamp that the shape to which emotion clings is lost, consequence goes on, the unexpected spawn of our exploits, and even of our lies, like Leda's pair of girl

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Establishment

By Eleanor Wilner

I was Leda's intimate, and slave, born, as I was, on the losing side, where the mind grows agile, and the heart's true tongue learns to put on fable for […]

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