I saw her, a doe—
no, still a girl then,
beautiful, a maiden
in the midst of men, saffron
skirt, dark hair, curved
mouth like her father’s.
A princess. A sacrifice.
I remember—Artemis wanted
her in the end, as all gods
want mortals, the way a cat
wants cream. Or a mouse.
Cruel and immediate.
She held her head in her hands,
weeping, a bright flame.
And when she changed her mind,
I remember that too, because she
kissed me then, tender. Doomed.
When she arrived at the altar,
she was magnificent, glory in her eyes
like the moon, mad reflector, caught
in her glance. I shuddered. She raised
her head, her soft neck bare. A knife,
a cry, a gush of blood—
A doe. Artemis took Iphigenia
and left a doe. Remarkable things
gods do when we all think
Louisa Schnaithmann is a poet living in the greater Philadelphia area. Her work has been published in Menacing Hedge, Projector Magazine, Rogue Agent, and Voicemail Poems. Her poem “On the Problem of Womanhood” was nominated for Best of the Net in 2019. She is currently working on her first chapbook, a collection of poems about the myth of Iphigenia.