Diana, Who Has Inside Her the Seeds of All Creation Yet to Come: Sits on My Porch and Chain Smokes

We blow smoke in each other’s faces and drink red wine until I admit to her all of my secret thoughts. She tells me of Apollo, how they entwined themselves around each other in the womb, how they know each other’s thoughts intuitively, how they feel each other’s fear vibrate inside themselves. She tells me he holds her heart without even touching her; how they sit in the oak grove just outside the city together and stare up into the leaves; how the branches slice open the sky and fracture the sunlight. A cat has lingered in my driveway all week. Diana, setting down her unfiltered Camel on the porch rail, stares into the cat’s eyes until it walks gingerly to where we sit on the glider and leaps. With the cat in her lap, Diana tells me about the women she hears crying to her, how many are so desperate for life to be born within them, and how many want to be free from the chains of motherhood. She tells me that she’s so fucking sick of all the Romans saying she’s a hunter, when really she hasn’t done anything lately but set a mouse trap with a dab of peanut butter on it in the corner of her kitchen. She tells me she hates having so many names and just wants to be called Diana. I only ever call her Diana, or baby, or my love.

“I’ll never get married, I don’t care, I just can’t,” she tells me.

“Yeah, I mean, I think I’ll get married,” I say.

“You’re different though. You don’t need like the whole sky open above you to breathe. Your heart, it’s weird – you can love me and still love men, it’s honestly impressive, weird, but impressive.”

“True,” I need less space than anyone I thought, “who do you think you love more, Apollo or the strega, or me?”

“That’s a shitty question! The strega are my babies, Apollo’s my twin. Man, I can’t answer that.” The ancient Romans believe that she is their virgin goddess. She cups my cheek in her hand and brushes back a stray hair: “And you, my darling, are special.”

Diana stands tall, the kind of woman who looks like a tree in only the best ways. Her skin is creamy, stars floating in milk, but dotted with tattoos like kisses from the night. Her eyes shoot right through you, arrows holding you to a wall so she can take in all of you at once. She pulls on her cigarette and breathes in, closes her eyes. I watch as the smoke begins to escape her lips and she breathes out, licks the corners of her mouth. She is the kind of woman who inspires fear in others if only because she stands so straight, looks so intently, and speaks deliberately. She doesn’t get too drunk on PBR on Saturday nights and accidentally tell her darkest secrets to strangers. She doesn’t stumble in heels on sidewalks after midnight. She doesn’t cry.

“Look at the moon, it’s my favorite time,” she says as she reaches for my hand.

A waxing gibbous moon studs the sky. Just a little longer until the full moon.

“I’ll make it glow brighter this month for you,” she says.