The Minotaur
Kenny Williams
	for Clare Rossini

When Minos first saw me 
he recognized, with satisfaction, 
the work of bull-stupid queens, 
the horrors delivered 
in strange ways to kings.  

With a simple lifting of his hand 
he summoned the clown from Pediatrics.  
He thought the rainbow-colored fool could use 
an eyeful of something ugly and embarrassing, 
white set next to red, not a shade of pink 
in sight: a birthing room 

wrecked, the woman inside 
having given the gods the perfect 
chance to kill her when she knew 
damn well they wouldn't.  

And afterwards, and just before, 
she clung so hard to the midwife 
she could taste her blood and mine 
mingled in the old woman's hair, 
could smell the wine on her breath 
when she upset the bowl of poppy pods 
over my steaming, royal head.  

The clown, for his part, 
joked that he and not the bull 
might be my father, coming to the queen 
under the midwife's drunken gaze.  

I'm afraid the clown's world was 
a little marvelous, 
the midwife a bit too red in the nose, 
the queen dragged free 
of me, the breech x-rayed 
to show my neck where it breaks 
where the midwife breaks it. 
Kenny Williams's poems have appeared most recently in Rattle, Lake Effect, FIELD, and Fence, and are forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Gulf Coast, the American Literary Review, and the Kenyon Review Online. He lives and works in Richmond, Virginia, and holds an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

more by Kenny Williams:
The Man who Blamed Life on a Spaniel