By Judith Skillman

After she lost her shield, Athene

turned toward the hills. Not sure

whether to come or go, no longer

bound by Zeus or Apollo.

After she lost her child nothing

came between her lap and the other

women, temptresses who

would take what she’d found

of safety. Finally alone,

the hard questions came. Was

her father the first?

Or Zeus? Migraines took food

from her stomach. Auras came

into her mind, stayed on

like afterimages of the sun.

One day she shut herself

in.  A room with stone windows,

a chink of light, sounds of waves

and birds. Would no one pass

her story on? Those strangers

who came upon her leather

body, the wineskin long

empty, the dates shrunk to raisins?

Without a shepherd, even goats

will wander off from the auspices

of a house shaded by blackberries.