Jon Etter is a writer and teacher living in the American Midwest. His works have appeared in a number of anthologies and journals, including Entombed In Verse: An Epitaph for Salem, Uncommon Lands, and Tales of the Once and Future King, and his first novel, an all-ages comedy/fantasy entitled A Dreadful Fairy Book, is due out November 6, 2018 (Election Day!) from Amberjack Publishing. For more information about Jon and his work, feel free to visit him on the web at www.jonetter.com.
A Study in Winter
The pristine snow-covered soccer field outside my window: A blank canvas. Shadows of smoke from a nearby chimney Begin to drift in ever-shifting patterns Up and over and away, up and over and away, Purple-blue swirls from an unseen brush. A gaggle of geese gracefully descends; Webbed feet hatch the field with white-on-white. Their huddled forms dot a far corner With pleasingly asymmetrical daubs of black, tan, and gray. The composition, Beautifully sparse Yet paradoxically full, Is complete.
From the stark white marble block his rough sculptor’s hands freed me, shaped me into a flawless form to love, to pamper, to worship: an ideal, free of all the “vices” and “flaws” of my sex, which he despised. He put me on a pedestal. Literally.
And for his passion and his silent prayers (and unmitigated misogyny), the Goddess of Love made me flesh and gave me to him.
And now that I am alive and his, I am filled with fear. What if his critical eye finds some overlooked flaw? What if time steals too much of the beauty that would have been eternally preserved by cold marble? What if, now that I am truly alive, a woman of flesh and blood and mind, what I say or do displeases? What if, in his eyes, like all the rest of my sex, I am found wanting? What then?
I often wish some other goddess, one not made of sea-foam and blood and semen, one who valued respect or kindness or equality instead of erotic obsession had heard his prayers. What reward would he have received from her hand? And what would she have made of me? Would I have been free to leave, my own woman instead of his, to teach him the price of possessiveness and unreasonable, uncharitable expectations? Or would I have been allowed to continue to sleep and dream cold, hard dreams in unyielding marble flesh?
O Goddesses, grant my prayers! If I must be an object, let me be as I was: unfeeling, unthinking. If enslavement rather than freedom be my lot, free me at least from knowledge of it.