Hafling | Kathleen Ferguson

they ask me about mythology and I tell them
I want to be a harpy, I want to have talons

I want to be beautiful and winged, with my breasts
pooling down my chest, unashamed

I want to snatch up those who paint me as ugly
and feed them to the furies, I want them to starve

as I carry them away I want my half-formed sisters
to be seen no longer as dangerous monsters

even though we’re more deadly than you
could ever know, I want the siren to sing and not have

the men crawl to her, water flowing from their mouths
I want the sphinx to answer questions that cannot be answered

I want men to go mad when denied again and again
choking on their words, living riddled nightmares

I want the body they forced upon me to be gnarled
and frightening, with moulting feathers along my torso

I want to smash the pottery they paint me onto
leave frescos littered with claw marks

I want to sink my nails into them, say “you forced me to be this way
you proclaimed yourselves gods and wrecked me.”

they ask me about mythology, and I tell them I was made
into a myth because they could not explain our wants—my sisters’ and mine.

Kathleen Ferguson, 18, is from Southern Ontario, Canada, and writes about mental health, relationships, queer issues, and the effects of trauma. Kathleen often pulls inspiration from mythology in her poetry, using figures to represent herself and others.


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