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
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
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.