A day after the accident on my twentieth birthday
I’m told I’ll never see him again. Stretched
on a narrow bed, with my leg fractured in four places
and braced neck, I clutch the hospital bill.
That night I dream there are snakes in our garden.
Six gunmetal-silver, eight-foot boa constrictors
slink towards the glass doors. Glistering like sea
monsters they flatten their bodies, rhombus-heads
raised against panes. My father is standing
to the side with a revolver. He won’t shoot.
I see myself think of the kitchen cleaver and all
the while feel something inside me uncoil and rise.
And I know now there are days when we must
gather from within what we’ve lost.
Knife clenched in my fist I become a new
Andromeda, unchained. In one clear, brazen swipe
I bring to earth what is shored to the sky,
to the sky what is gleaned from the earth.
Vanessa Albedo Bennu is a renewable energy consultant and poet living in Athens, Greece. This poem was inspired by an exercise set by Ben Wilkinson as part of the online course ‘Dream On – Waking Up Your Poems with the Phantasmagoric’.