Youthful temptress, aging oracle,
Nymph-like debacle, Gorgon spectacle,
Retreat from retribution’s precipice,
And a transient victory wrought by avarice,
To listen to a parable
Devoid of the empirical.
Several centuries ago in the land of the Saracen,
You were born to a tribe called the Bedouin.
Clad in hijab to protect you from knowledge that is carnal or ecstatic,
Your elders were quite emphatic
In their desire to imbue you with virtue
In languages derived from Aramaic.
Rules were enforced by the prevailing patriarchy,
Who were keenly aware of lust in the presence of your budding sexuality.
Nature’s sculpting of your cherubic form
Into a Circe with Djim-curved breasts
Straining against material meant to cocoon a figure otherwise ethereal,
Did little to maintain the moral norm.
Codes of the West and codes of the East,
Dictated restriction or punishment for unleashing a Beast
Called unrestrained passion, robbing Man of reason,
Paralyzing Zeus with snake-like tendrils spewing poison and hissin’,
Only the strength of family kept you safe from the abyss
And the sword of Perseus,
In the ensuing years
Your inevitable rebellion as an uncontrollable hellion,
Sent you scurrying in a soulless desert from the puritanical to the heretical,
Falling for a secular encyclical
Promoting the hype of the perfect male archetype.
The rush of intellect combined with tingling nerves and tissue erect,
Anesthetized your senses
And blinded you to fragile mental fences,
Especially your own…
Now, in your twilight years,
Forced to face your deepest fears,
You gaze into a mirror,
To inspect Aphrodite with a wrinkled body all-a-quiver,
Sagging breasts with shriveled aureoles publicly wrapped in fashionable frills-
Fatty tissue feted by paramours over whom you once held sway,
Rose-tinted nipples electrically bonded to Venus’ mound in her heyday,
Now drooped untouched below a proud visage lined with pain
And experience in surviving life’s interference.
As you caress your naked loneliness,
And pause to touch a cancerous mass,
In life-giving organs soon to be disfigured by modern medicine,
In its quest to heal every lesion,
Your heart yearns for a cloak to shield your fading womanhood.
But inevitably you muster the strength,
To find your own identity and carry on the fight,
To any length, even to death’s finality,
For you are now fearless
And ready to show your true beauty and grace in the face of adversity.