Aphrodite, I am sorry

by Ben Pickard   Dec 23, 2020

she would light her cigarettes
by striking matches on my cheek,
then blow smoke rings round
the corrupted image of Aphrodite

I allowed her to store my ribcage
in the freezer, where she would let it
defrost just enough to run her fingers
along it now and again - but bone never
sounds as musical as wood, especially
when it's defrosting

cups of coffee I made her would
evaporate, the vapour eulogizing
the words that sifted so effortlessly from
the luscious lips it condensed on

my feelings for her now are fetid,
like some foul-smelling, miasmic marshland,
in dire need of dredging, so I have only this:

I am sorry


Ben Pickard 2020


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Latest Comments

  • 3 weeks ago

    by Poet on the Piano

    I saw this piece and read it first thing when I woke up, and I'm still just as much in love with it, reading hours later. This also made me look up the stories of Aphrodite and I guess I didn't realize the severity of some of the stories about her seeking vengeance when she felt defied. (I'm also a bit rusty on my Greek mythology). The charm, passion and beauty of Aphrodite, that we remember her by, may hold just as much power and passion for revenge, if we don't see her as she believes she should be seen and loved.

    Your imagery in this was stunning! The "striking matches" on one's cheek especially, that gave the start of the piece such a spark. Also, your "ribcage in the freezer" was truly horrifying, realizing that you have wronged or offended such a magnificent goddess, that it's now a sentence to your deathbed. The idea of her "defrosting" your heart every now and again was bone-chilling too.

    I wasn't the biggest fan of "luscious lips" because it sounded a bit too cliche in this? But then again, it does play into the idea of vanity and beauty. Also, in the next line, loved the word "fetid" and "miasmic marshland". (I always learn new words thanks to you!). "in dire need of dredging" was great phrasing as well. I didn't feel like you needed "like some foul-smelling", since you already mentioned that with "fetid", but it kind of made me chuckle because you REALLY emphasized the growing hatred and disgust and rotting feelings for her, while, in a sick and twisted way, your body underwent the same kind of thing. So in a sense, it was darkly humorous that it was stated that many times.

    The ending line was brilliant, almost comical in a way, because a simple "sorry" is such a stark contrast to her wrath and power. I can just imagine her smirking at mortals who try to undo their actions or make up for love that wasn't enough.

    A tantalizing read packed with revenge!

    • 3 weeks ago

      by Ben Pickard

      Incredible comment, MA, so thank you for that. Glad you enjoyed it and that it got you thinking. I actually thought exactly the same thing about "luscious lips" but I got sucked in by the idea of alliteration. Just "lips" perhaps? Anyway, thanks again.

  • 3 weeks ago

    by Mr. Darcy

    I would like to see each stanza framed and shown in a public gallery of modern art. I would stand there, at a distance, and muse for hours, or at least until they threw me out.

    • 3 weeks ago

      by Ben Pickard

      Thanks, Michael. I would attach a special note to each reading "please allow for the seeming oddity of the man who will not move". You never know, perhaps they will allow you an extended stay...

  • 3 weeks ago

    by Violet Raven

    This is too good not to nominate

    • 3 weeks ago

      by Ben Pickard

      Lovely of you to say, V R and thank you so much. Hope you're well.

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