by Laura Garrison
The Wife of Pygmalion
My life began in his imagination;
my form was drawn forth from an ivory block.
No living woman earned his admiration,
but I was perfect, though as pale as chalk.
He brought me gifts and laid them at my feet:
tame songbirds, pebbles, seashells, yellow flowers.
He brought me wine and food I could not eat,
then dressed me up and gazed at me for hours.
When Venus sensed his innermost desire,
my flesh began to glow beneath his kiss,
I grew as soft as wax before the fire,
and so his longing was transformed to bliss.
How strange! I was as lifeless as white sand,
yet now I smile and hold my daughter's hand.
They called us heretics and cast us out
for questioning the gods' divinity,
but Venus made sure we would never doubt
the market price of femininity.
As punishment for our apparent sins
we sold ourselves to satisfy men's lusts.
They crushed our spirits as they bruised our skins;
we longed to grow as hard as marble busts.
Time passed, and every night was much the same;
they gave us money, and our cheeks would flush.
But years of this life robbed us of our shame,
until at last we could not even blush.
Though we began as living flesh and bone,
we finished as impenetrable stone.
Laura Garrison lives in Maryland with her husband. Some of her poems and stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Daikaijuzine, Puffin Circus, Niteblade, and 14 by 14, among others. She enjoys sipping from goblets and wandering through moonlit cemeteries in her best nightgown.
What do you think is the attraction of the fantasy genre?
I think it is the juxtaposition of the alien with the familiar--the excitement of exploring an otherworld mingled with the thrill of recognition upon encountering something that resonates with one's own experience or emotions. Even in fantasy works with no human characters, there is usually some truth revealed about human nature, and that always amazes me.