Reverse Aphrodite or Birth of Venus
By: Trevor Eichenberger
Her pearl pale body dead longer than when she first drifted ashore
with seashells. Beachgoers who found her mistook corpse for
washed-up porpoise. Still in rigor mortis, marble-heavy. Both
hands covered her sex. Seaweed and slug stuck to her hair that
stuck to her neck. The officer wrote on his report: No sign of foul
play. Still fuckable. When coroners cut into her on autopsy table, she opened like
oyster and spilled forth ocean.
Trevor Eichenberger writes prose and poetry in a non-fiction manner, staying close to the ground and human truth. He is currently enrolled at Nebraska Wesleyan University where he is pursuing a BA in English. His work has been published in his university’s literary magazine, The Flintlock.
“‘Reverse Aphrodite or Birth of Venus’ was written during my week-stay at the Juniper Writing Institute. For the first time in my life, I was really immersed in a nexus of creative energy. I came to the institute for fiction writing, but I ended up writing poetry instead. I think the influence of my two roommates, both happened
to be poets, had something to do with that. Perhaps I was drawing from their creative energies.
This piece is an ekphrastic poem based on the Botticelli painting ‘The Birth of Venus.’ While I was at the institute, I attended a craft session over the power of the erotic in literature led by the poet Safiya Sinclair. ‘Reverse Aphrodite or Birth of Venus’ was my response to the session. In the poem, I wanted to show the duality of femininity, both the violence enacted on the female body and the celebration of it with this sort of birth that happens at the end. I had never quite written a poem like this before, a poem that so readily left me and onto the page.”