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1 poem
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.

Dear Scylla

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.