Pandora's Box

(performed in front of my fraternity when we were celebrating Greek culture. there are many different versions of the Pandora myth so understandably some parts of my poem might not "fit" with one version of the myth)


All of my lovers have been well-kept secrets:

I dated my first boyfriend for a year, a tale we snuck under the noses of his parents

like a titan running fire to humans in front of the gods – a taunt, a teenage trifle


The boys that followed were history before we could even begin one.

I was a hit and run before the cops could show up,

given no time to gather an archeologist team

consisting of religion majors, law enforcement, and love gurus

to uncover the ruins of Olympus.


On the asphalt you’ll find a chalk outline of my body

drawn with broken cakes of makeup

Foundation shaken by an earthquake

If clouds collide, what is that called?

If the heavens split open, is it

a religious awakening

or just a thunderstorm?

I guess I’ll never know.


I remained a cryptic text–

disregarded mythology lost in translation.

I connected with figures that should perhaps have remained mysteries

Black figured amphoras, bowling curves and dimmed lighting

Loving you built famines, loneliness and plagues out of spit, friction and unyielding clay

I was given

diseases like addictions coursing through cracking veins

Hearts as divergent as tectonic plates, smashed pottery a new Pangaea

Personalities and live-wire chemistry we could not put back together.

Perhaps this was my penance.


But you were all so tempting. So I became the Pandora’s box you stuffed all your secrets

amongst other things


It was as though the fire of Prometheus was trapped in my lungs

Smoke heavy as storm clouds, dragging me down to Hades

That this was my punishment – the gods had made me of dirt

so it was only natural to be parched.

But you all thought I was gasping for you

Trying to suck you in when I was certain this smoke

and all of our secrets

would only spill out.


You all thought me to be some sexually repressed vessel with an enchanted lock and hexes

some ghostly lover tucking whispers into your necks –

But did you peg me as a screamer?

With immeasurable ambition and obscure dreams?


You left me half-buried and forgot the drachma for my ferry

across the river of Styx, denied me even the right to rest in peace.

I will not become a cold case

Leave me at shore, Charon – I’m not dead yet.

I egg on life like I’m looking for a 1:00AM brawl outside of a bar

Slobbering and spitting and swinging

Busted knuckles breaking skin

Streams of blood highway skid marks

A mix of hiccups

Drunk off of passion like whisky

 A fireball of fury

Screaming “Come at me!”


Or did you peg me as simply something pretty?

I thought I could be everything: cute, adorable, hot, sexy, gorgeous, beautiful

But I never tried being myself.

There’s more to me than miseries

I left you with your keys, picked my own lock,

and grabbed misfortune by the throat

I memorized her face until I got lost in my own reflection

I did not try to force this black smoke back inside:

I let these sufferings spill out of me.

I kept searching until I found a tiny flicker of light in my eyes

that shimmered like gold.

Deep within me, farther than any of you would look, I found a sort of beauty

I found Hope.

And then I set her free


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