DAPHNE PURSUED BY APOLLO
by Sophia Stid
A story told this many times becomes the forest.
No beginning, no end, no longer a narrative but the air
we breathe. For centuries, a woman with a name
rises from her sleep—becomes a tree—rains back down
again into her rest. One myth for how poetry began:
a man, reaching. Violence. Myth: Apollo finds the tree
inside of a woman. Apollo translates fingers into leaves,
hears a voice and calls it wind. I am not interested in Apollo.
I am interested in the father-god who could not stop
the rape but could turn his daughter into a tree—
kind of power is that, and how does it still river through
our world? Why does nobody ask these questions? I carry more
keys than I need. Walking home from the library late, I thread
silver teeth through my fist. I am not a tree, and I am asking.
* * * * *
"Daphne Pursued by Apollo" was first published in Four Way Review and was also featured in Poetry Daily (December 6, 2020).
Sophia Stid is a writer from California. She is the Ecotone Postgraduate Fellow at UNC Wilmington and a recent graduate of the MFA program at Vanderbilt University, where she studied poetry and theology. She has received fellowships from the Bucknell Seminar for Younger Poets, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and the Collegeville Institute, and is the winner of the 2019 Witness Literary Award in Poetry. Recent poems and essays can be found in Best New Poets 2020, Image, The Cincinnati Review, Rattle, and Pleiades, among others.