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Today’s Note from a Mythical Woman is an exchange between Philomela and Procne, and is sent in by Elodie Olson-Coons.

Elodie’s writing has appeared in The Literateur and McSweeney’s among many others, and she is a regular columnist for Work in Prowess. She blogs here, and can be followed on twitter: @elllode.

Philomela and Procne

PROCNE

Sister, do not shout
back.

Do not expose your
self
like film.
They’ll dip you in hot copper.
They will strip your tongue away.

You’re just a sparrow
They will tear out your
song.

PHILOMELA
go on and
wear your soft brown
thriftshop
coat.

wear those
heels
down.
trill your soft jazz song.

You can be a
falcon
you can be a
falcon.

PROCNE

I know how you have sung to
dirty and beloved ears.
I saw when your blood was blue with shame.

You slut-walk.
Meanwhile your sister saw-wings, saw-wings
away.

PHILOMELA

I know you love him and
I forgive you. I sing for you, too,
sister.

PROCNE

You sing for no-one.
You have become dumb.
My husband made you
dumb
when he jackknifed into you.

PHILOMELA

Oh, I have a knife
and juniper and butter and my teeth and my
grandmother’s oven.

I have a taxi number.
I have fucking pepperspray.

PROCNE

Oh, they are always furred and
roaming.
And today you are wearing

that?

PHILOMELA

You are a wolf, you roam the streets
home.
Be a wolf.

I prophesise an
epidemic.
I see the turning of the tide.

PROCNE

the nightingales are stitched and
splayed across the branches.

I see the children and the cameras.

In their eyes I see your eyes,
little sister.

PHILOMELA
Look on, sister.
Look up from the glittering
pool
of your drink.

I am not without fear
I am not on the brink
I am
the smallest of turnings.

PROCNE

Most importantly of all, do not get
drunk
do not
get

videotaped.

You are vincible,
my once-beloved one.

PHILOMELA

And you are growing old.
Look: how it is marked on my face. I do not heal. Despite and still
I go out.
I am not alone.

I am the tide.
I am survived by my familiars –
the oak and the pomegranate and
the wolf cub lapping oil from a lamp.

PROCNE

You are nothing but a match,
a blackened piece of tinder,
sister. I long to protect you.

PHILOMELA

Meanwhile the hoopoe sings.

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