by Courtney Druzak

I came first,
fully grown, when Leto gave birth.
I knew only
to turn and catch him in my open
palms, to clear bloody
residue from nose and mouth. Lungs and eyes
opened. Fresh adult fingers
clung through film of afterbirth.
(Stand on your own.

Never without you, he swore,)
he took my hand,
raised me to my feet.

We never have stopped holding hands.
Not even after he threw Orion among the stars
did we separate
our intertwined fingers.

(I should be angry with you.
You want to keep me
all to yourself.

A grin. Of course.

I’ve always had to be the adult.)

They were our tools:
he could pluck the lute, the lyre, or a pretty maiden until they hummed
in pleasure. (He’s a man of varied talents.)
I fit my fingers around bone, sheep’s
gut strings. They sang with his warm
tones as the hart and Niobe’s children
breathed their last.
(How dare she insult him.)

I suppose, sometimes,
if we were to breathe our own last,
we could only go hand to hand.
But immortality permits
us to laugh at the stories
written in our skin (Look here, sister,
you’ve got no love line at all)

as we press
(Eyeroll. That’s because you’re enough
of another half for me.)

our palms together.