ODE TO SAPPHO
By: Emily Bornstein
I watched when Whitman marbled the Body
Electric. As the queer men dazzled behind
him, they called not for the meek Aphrodite, but
for poetess Sappho.
I watched, what’s more, Virginia and Vita
share glances, gazes, deep through the city.
Orlando died, though, so they beseech you:
“Tenth muse, be our ally!”
When Ginsberg gargled madly, the beatniks
declared in praise of things unconventional:
“Bohemia started off on an island,
with holiest, Sappho.”
I’ve watched the poets writing in circles,
“To hell with God, I’ll be with the sinners!”
I’ll march, someday, with them to Gehenna.
Don’t save me, dear Sappho.
They say, in hell, things bubble and flower
with fire; I hold that fire breeds seraphic poems.
I, too, one day, will burn with Vita and Whitman,
In hell with you, Sappho.
Old Aphrodite rots ‘neath Zeus’s sepulcher,
and flappers bob Her hair, anoint Her with liquor.
She begs you, Sappho, will you free Her to Hades?
Slay now Her ripe spirit!
Emily Bornstein is a junior at the Solomon Schechter High School in Long Island, New York. She is presently the editor-in-chief of her high school’s literary magazine and the school newspaper. She also enjoys playing the guitar and piano, and volunteering in a social skills group for children with special needs.