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Arachne's guide to offending a goddess

by thea hatton

You start by learning

no divine inspiration no blessings just callus-forming

on the strings of the loom

your lyre it makes no sound except the sha-shunk

of the shuttle running beneath your hands

it is the steady repeat of a picture being born

body from thread-flesh

dammit if this isn’t godhood.

Always take the late bus home from

work and stand by the driver tell her how the

goddess herself couldn’t outdo you now

you’re an artist you learned to weave

between the men on the tube and you learned to

thread a story together from the gossips

in the factory.

When she tells you that such claims are heresy

that you better repent


If the Goddess wishes to take offence, she better come down here and

do it.

The next steps then are simple:

She will reveal herself

you will act surprised

she will challenge you to a contest

you will not act scared

she will start her speech

you will interrupt with


Watch her as she keeps time with your sha-shunk

hands lifting and the fall of the

sha-shunk making steady progress while she moves

with all the haste of a rage-filled thing

sha-shunk into being the

memory of Leda, of Nemesis sha-shunk

in Semele, Persephone, Rhea sha-shunk

Maia, Tyra into the tapestry see how

she casts her eyes away when down falls Medusa’s head

with the sha-shunk.

You run out of string with the last sha-shunk long

before you run out of names.

All it takes is the sight of your creation its


to drive her further into a rage suffer the


of her blows on your head as she sets her shuttle to

work leaving you bloodied

and weeping.

Crawl home while she follows under the

streetlights in sight

of strangers who cross the road. Kiss the sandpaper

pavement with the point of

your elbow your desperate knees your

heaving, pleading belly.

After you reach sanctuary I can’t offer you any more

advice except that you should


your pick of the rope or the wrath of a goddess

whatever your choice

you will receive no shame no judgement from me.

Only a vow that I will spin my web in your name.


Thea Hatton (she/they) is a trans-feminine, nonbinary poet based in Birmingham. She was a member of the University of Birmingham's winning team at Unislam 2022. Her work explores trans joy, transformation, and love for friends, and has previously been published with The Madrigal and Death's Dormant Daughter. You can follow them at @_Hatton_ on Twitter.


Image by Bree Anne
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