Self Portrait as Hydra

I slash at my own heads.
One lost, two gained.
Always budding.
Beast of Hera,
Barely visible to the naked eye.
When Sun is in Cancer,
My heads are near.
If disturbed, I contract.
Cut me into pieces: I rebuild.
Never a set number of heads.
Some say seven, some nine,
Others one hundred.
Only one is immortal. Guess.
I reproduce on my own
Unless conditions are harsh:
Winter, poor food.
I reach out for a mate.
One man’s morbid task.
They called him Hercules
But killers are weak.
The strong man lets me live, finds
My singular immortality
Loving me.
I live forever under
The right circumstances,
See without eyes,
Sting in response to light,
Align with moons:
Charon, ferryman of
Align with Nix.
My tiny eccentricity.
Larger than Pluto’s
Smallest moons,
Smaller than Styx.
Invertebrate capable of great
Contraction, still I reach
Through fresh water,
Digest what is whole,
Stopped up in one place,
I burst forth in another.


2 Responses to “Self Portrait as Hydra”

  1. Glenda Funk says:

    Your allusions to mythology are wonderful. I had to think to recall Hera, Styx, etc. I like the paradoxes and contradictions throughout the poem, as well as the them of regeneration.

    • wordweed says:

      Thank you, Glenda! The Hydra has made it so deeply into our stories and naming of things…it is a sea monster, a moon, an aquatic creature, a constellation. It was fun to try to be all those things at once!

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