Historians pluck her words
like grapes. Chew thoroughly.
Brunch conversations about the symbolism
of violets. How curious.
The men twiddle their thumbs.
Consider Pope Gregory—
burns her work like he’s branding
wrestled to the ground,
legs tied together.
Hot iron melts skin, melts breath,
melts ink from the page.
Another man threatened
by what a woman’s hands can do.
Her name is Sappho
or, according to Athenian Comedy,
or according to the Hellenistic period,
Centuries take bites.
She began as honeycrisp, rotted
into sodden, skinless fruit. Each year,
someone new claiming her as a species
not yet discovered, calling out from the field,
Would you look at how this one fucks?
Tell me was Sappho exiled
to Sicily because of her love for women?
Forget the ferryman. Forget the flowers.
I want to know if she suffered.
When she called a woman’s throat “soft”
was it only a daydream?
Was Sappho ever allowed
to be the necklace, the woven garland
wrapped around the pulse of her lover?
Jess Turner has a BFA in Creative Writing from Chatham University. Her poems have been published in The Sigma Tau Delta Rectangle, Rogue Agent, and Pittsburgh Poetry Review. Besides poetry, she has interests in food studies, hiking, music, and the French language. She is currently applying for her MFA in Poetry.