As punishment for Prometheus’ gift of fire, the gods gave me to men. They gave me to men. I was a poisoned gift. But the importance of a poisoned gift is the venom it bears, not the gift. The box, not Pandora.
Men molded from fire and mud do not know I am not like them. They are boys staring out of mighty squat-legged bodies wondering who forgot to tell them what words to say. But I know who I am. I do not say this because Aphrodite poured grace over me and gave me her walk that swayed like palm trees, or because gray-eyed Athena taught me to see through lies to the sad dark things. I just know with unrelenting certainty that I am growing slowly into the beautiful thing I was always meant to be. I have know it since I prayed in the warm dusty forest until I forgot every instant of all the years I spun golden wool through my fingers until it turned to thin, dull, even thread. At times I can begin to forget the sight of Epimetheus ripping Athena’s silvery veil from my face and the sharp and hard taste of that first kiss. I forget every time he has looked into my eyes and then grinned like he has me figured out. I can almost begin to forget that I will look upon his face every day for the rest of my life. This is my fate and I feel it clamping my heart like a fist. The iniquity that tramples my freedom matters less than a fleck of dust to him. Does he not know that I too am aware I will die and that the thought of death turns me to ice just like it does him? That I too lie awake at night as my future lies on my chest and crushes me like the demons that give us bad dreams?
They say women have the gift of being able to endure more pain than men can. But in truth they are simply given more pain.
In my sea-dark eyes and fiery lips was the only power I ever knew. The box was the only thing I owned. It was like me, smooth and golden like melodies on the lips of the muse and full of what men would call Evil.
So I opened the box and out galloped the mangy flesh-eating dogs of war and diseases that wither bone and blood and famines without respite and droughts that turned rivers to scalding beds of salt. And so men had to labor to live just as much as women have to labor to allow men to live and to go on living in spite of men.
And what about Hope that tiptoed out of the box, frail as a dandelion? I meant to keep it for myself, but they came for me and stole it so it now belongs to them alone.