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Diana and Actaeon

by thea hatton


How likely the story

the stink of you rustling the leaves

of the bush where you lay hidden

crouched by the pool fucking peeping tom

so confident in your concealment


How easy to say you were only out hunting

you will claim you just stumbled across me

to the soldiers that wait for you

in my uncle’s caverns

And did you hear she was naked? you will ask

the Virgin-whore was begging for it


How tempting to rip you apart

to plant an arrow in

your foot see you squirm when you realise you

cannot run ask you Did the other girls know how to

skin a boar?


but you’ve heard I assume that the gods love their

irony

besides I want to see what those legs can

do


So instead of flaying you here

I will take the deer skin that you carry

around your shoulders to call yourself a hunter

and I will stitch you inside

what a fine stag you make

I will whisper in your ear before pricking your rump

with a slender knife

savour your guttural cry as you trail blood

into the forest


*

Can you hear your hounds?

Pick up the pace Actaeon you trained them well

and they haven’t fed in a day you above all should know what

hungry dogs will do

just to get a taste of meat


Don’t falter now

it isn’t time yet you still have to try to beg

and find your tongue lacking I want your

prayer as a heavy panting

Let’s find out if deer can cry

if they can cry and run at the same time


through the tears you never even see the root that causes

you to trip your shin to splinter


Let me watch now

your turn to hear the leaves rustling

smell the stink of beasts out of sight

feel their eyes

the precursors of


mouths


of


tongues


and of


teeth

 

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.


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Image by Bree Anne
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