Hypochondria, Least Powerful of the Greek Gods, Suffers a Breakup
Hypochondria tries to find what the formula is:
time needed to heal divided by time spent
together. She’s weathered many things
before but wonders now if calling her heart
war-torn is a dramatic attack on other people’s
pain? Even with all the blood and bandages.
The argument started when Poseidon
wouldn’t call her a goddess, only cooed
muse into the murky mirror of her ear.
“But I’m a goddam Olympian,” she screamed.
Muse felt so small, a word without the ugly
growl and hiss of “goddess,” sounds
Hypochondria needs to feel powerful.
She’s already concerned about her shrinking
stomach, stretchmarks on her thighs, this writing
on her skin like an abacus of all the weight
she’s lost. When Poseidon first caught her
eye years ago, she’d been so impressed.
Who didn’t want to spend each morning cooking calamari,
eating on a terrace of seafoam and wrought-iron
shells? To be drawn in a chariot of creatures
half-horse, half-fish, swishing tails and gentle
eyes always pleading for sugar cubes. And then
there had been his beard—only auburn thing
in the sea’s entire green. But what Hypochondria
had really liked was how Poseidon controlled both
droughts and floods. She’s always wanted a man
who could solve his own damn problems.
Hypochondria, Least Powerful of the Greek Gods, Visits the Hairdresser
Who, on Mt. Olympus, is Hera of course.
Head mistress of tresses, split ends, and fringe.
Hypochondria came in for just a trim,
but Hera suggested something more dramatic--
a layered bob to frame her face. As Hera protects
her neck with a cloth bib, spins her chair around,
Hypochondria knows she can’t stay here for long--
the mirror worse than Medusa’s stare, vanity
lights magnifying every broken vein blistered
just beneath the skin. As scissors whisper
too close to her ear, Hypochondria fears that
the purple pooled under her eyes means low
levels of iron. The laugh lines now illuminated
mark her too old to be loved again. And here’s
Hera with her perfect, poreless skin, pink
with a shimmer that mimics the magic
of champagne. She’s heard Hera makes mistakes
on purpose, asymmetrical bangs and bald spots
she crops with clippers. But who could blame her,
really? Trying to make less of a threat the women
Zeus admires. How he plants his eyes
into their dimples and thighs. As Hera begins
working rosemary shampoo and warm water
into a lather on her scalp, nails scratching
dead skin off, Hypochondria can sense in Hera
the same pained scavenged look of animals,
hoarding their harvest for winter. How
they are never really moved by greed, just
the need to feel more full than afraid. She
closes her eyes and prays for anything but bangs.
Emily Paige Wilson is the author of I’ll Build Us a Home (Finishing Line Press, 2018). She has received nominations for Best New Poets, Best of the Net, and the Pushcart Prize. Her work can be found in The Adroit Journal, Hayden’s Ferry Review, PANK, and Thrush, among others. She lives in Wilmington, NC, where she received her MFA from UNCW. Visit her website at https://www.emilypaigewilson.com/.