A Doe Replaces Iphigenia on the Sacrificial Altar

By Robyn Schiff

There was a need
to be weak and I met
it. I appeared in the confusion
between strength and
surrender, as if out of nowhere,
that’s the illusion.
I was reared
ruminating
in a thicket of
sorrow with a beautiful
string of drool
hanging out the side of my
mouth like a loose
phosphorescent
tether.
How will I know
what to do, I wondered.
No one does, my mother said.
And then, as the drawing back of the ocean
before a tsunami
suddenly exposes
outrageous fish on the seabed, gasping,
a great inhalation placed me
here panting on the sacred grass.
I feel like a girl in heaven,
but I am a beast in a clearing.
I came to
as the wind picked up
and in the bay
as the tide
came in,
what a blow to mankind,
an animalcrude wind
to war, toward
war, untoward
toward war
took my breath
away with it.