Dan Albergotti

The Maenads

She is the one who can redeem you. See her

there, standing next to the punch bowl,

with her hair pulled tight. Watch her stare

with narrowed eyes, see how she draws her lips

thin. Your world lies deep beneath her contempt.

But give her wine and the wilderness, give her

open space and the free air, and watch her fill

with the spirit of the wood. She will ignite

like the silent explosion of a remote star. See her

eyes glow, her hair float loose like visible wind.

Listen to her voice rise in the sharp darkness.

It takes the hand of a god to form such rough beauty.

What will you give her? What could you offer?

She wants the joy of the blood and the raw red flesh.

She will tear through Pentheus, through Orpheus,

through all of us. The blood of all our fathers

drips from her bared teeth. But you must try

to kiss her, to touch her full red lips. Try to hold

what trembles through her. Try to make yourself

real. Clasp her hand and join this dark worship.

Listen to the night air in the trees, the rasp of her holy

breath, the movement of blood through your veins.

Let it happen. Let there be life and death.