by Smile (Ximai) Jiang
Smile (Ximai) Jiang is a sophomore at Concord Academy, MA, and a senior editor at Polyphony Lit. She has strong opinions about cats and would love to know your favorite books. She tweets at @smiii_jiang.
Like me, your hunger started out as a lacuna—gap in
the ocean cosmos, satiable—a different kind of hell, a hearth for
souls that seek it. Like me, the want is always growing, though you
still swallow sailors six at a time. Big bottomless banging jaws,
all mouths, all claws,
all hunger. Odysseus and his crew
chose you, dear Scylla. An agreeable choice, considering how
tempestuous I am. He knew the murderous blue foaming outside
of the whirlpool’s reach was pretty poison, and chose the softer of
two hard places. A game, in which the weak gets devoured in
a hearty montage to lesser beings. I watched you from the
other side, watched you pluck and squeeze and hack.
Dear Scylla, was six enough? Will it ever be? Odysseus
will overcome and sail on home just fine. The
whirlpool is growing bigger and bigger, the wails
louder and shriller, riven with anguish,
and I can’t say that I’m proud of it.