Hesiod's Catalogue of Women


Let’s put those sweet voices to use, yes? Those throat-notes come stamped with the direct seal of Zeusly approval, no reason to waste godsbreath on lesser subjects. Let’s talk about the best of us; let’s talk about the sluts who made the world.

Best in show, best to know, complete with adjustable girdles, the ones Aphrodite taught to disrobe like panning for gold. They threw real parties then, immaculate, and raveled-out time like flax, saving old age for the palate-cleanser at the end of ten courses. They set their sights on god-fucks, and never aimed where they weren’t prepared to pull the trigger. Let’s talk about it. Let’s talk about the girls who turned Poseidon into foam, who melted Ares and Hephaestus back down their own forge and furnace, the only girls Hermes lost his hat over. They fucked like Heracles advancing on Heaven. (So they tell me themselves. Sorry I can’t get you an invitation, but they don’t mind my saying so.)

Eurynome says: All my kids like horses. I think that’s an improvement over the last generation – men were always driving aurochs and ox-fleets before me. “Behold my cattle, driven for you; any interest in animal husbandry, Eurynome?” Which was very sweet.

Glaucus says: Athena recommended the cattle. It smelled like silver when she moved her legs to walk, so I was clean out of ideas. Athena said: “Cattle, boyo – show her you know how to demonstrate value.”

Eurynome says: I still keep a herd in Sikyonia.

Glaucus says: Sometimes she moved her legs to walk. Sometimes she was a woman clean down to the hips, and a fish thereafter. Heigh-ho, silver.

Eurynome says: Very kind, as I said. But Poseidon fucks like the tide – sweet, sloppy, slack, then with moon-force, magnitude Aa, with frequency ωa and phase pa, channel-carving, trench-swelling, brine-bearing, rich with visions, cloud-dark and deep-peaceful after.

Glaucus says: Everything I learned about silvopasture, I learned from her.

Atalanta, who liked to see men out of breath and found a way to make them thank her for it –

Atalanta says: Hippomenes in repose was dull as death; in stillness is no beauty. But Hippomenes gulping air, Adam’s-apple pumping up and down for purchase, Hippomenes flailing and wind-stirred, is worth a second look. Drop the apple, darling, and run for your life. I want to see your back get put to work.

Hippomenes says: One – moment – hah –

Atalanta says: From the diaphragm –

Hippomenes says: – Hahh –

Atalanta says: That’s a breath, sweet boy, run on; drop whatever you can’t carry on your legs.

Iphigenia in Triplicate

Artemis says: I thought there should be three of her, with dogs and bow and torches – I made her a parade. They love her in Byzantium.

Τρίμορφε says: They love us in Byzantium. The son of Cronos left us our full portion, indivisible. We eat with several mouths.

Artemis says: What can I say? I’ve always had a yen for hungry girls.

Women rich in sheep and vigorous as earth, who mingled all their beds and girdled law, who merely looked your way to bring forth sons right then and there. And when they fell in love they turned to birds. Pulled their hair down from the moon, plucked eyes from calves, and tucked their tidy ankles into beds as tall as Troy; steadfast in flesh and dripping bronze. The girls threw parties then. The boys with invitations brought their face – I’ll forgive you if you’ve never heard of them til now. They charmed the wind and bees and counted them among their guests – poor lank-haired you, who never walked their halls. No fault that you were born in lesser time, just your bad luck.