Friday, March 28, 2014

A Goddess All Made of Words

Once upon a time there was a goddess in the shape of a girl, who danced barefoot in moonlight while the words of the worlds swirled around her and through her. From sunset to sunrise she would dance, and when her dancing was done and her hair and her body were limp with her sweat, the words would be scribed upon her skin, black lines on pale skin, all the words in all the worlds traced fine as spider silk upon her, and each day the words would fade in the sun only to be redrawn by the light of the next moon.

She danced alone, this goddess, because she understood that mortal eyes and mortal minds could not help but be laid waste by the horrors and beauties writ upon her skin. But she danced, because she could do nothing else; she was the Word, and the Word was her. Days and years and lifetimes and aeons passed as she danced the warm earth, and long nights grew weary in their solitude and the words grew to be small comfort to a heart bereft of companionship.

And so one dawning when her dancing was done, she worked the earth that had been trod beneath her feet and sweetened with her sweat, and she made from this earth a golem, which she  imbued with the favorite of her words, which were love and amor and q'il'inoth, which were grace and gracia and Ĺ‚aska, which were intellect and beauty and strength.

And this creature, which she called Mine, rose silent from the earth and it joined her in her dance, and it matched its movements to her own and the goddess was filled with its adoration and no longer bereft with the isolation of her station. The days and years and lifetimes and aeons passed, and each night the goddess and the creature she called Mine would dance and the goddess was swaddled in her words and filled with her creation's love and its grace. Until one night she realized that it was not enough; this mute creature, this thing she had created, would no longer suffice, for although it contained the words, although it embodied them, it could never be them in the way that she could. And in a fit of sudden fury she cast the creature away.

At first Mine would not leave her side, and it blubbered and moaned in such dismay that she thought of unmaking it. But the thought of unmaking her creation was abhorrent to her, and instead she waited until daytime when Mine slept and she slipped away, leaving it desolate and alone as she had been. For a time she regretted this decision, but it was a small regret and a short time. 

We would speak no more of Mine, but that the goddess's creation returned to the goddess in the full light of sun and, bereft of its mistress, slew her in her slumber.

The words, her protection in moonlight, had faded, and her skin was pale and vulnerable to the creature's terrible rage. Its blows shattered bone and rended skin and almost before the goddess had even come awake she was slain. In that last awful moment before her death, she looked at her creation and did not need to ask why, for she knew all the words of all the worlds and all the secrets they held, and she knew in the moment that she had brought her doom upon herself in the moment she attempted creation. So instead of speaking she simply drew a ragged breath, and let it out, and exploded into a flock of words like sparrows breaking from a branch.

Then the creature called Mine was stricken with the enormity of what it had wrought, and it lay in the mud and dissolved into tears like sweat upon the brow of a goddess, and was unmade.

And when the moon emerged from its slumber the goddess rose again, as eternal as words, and she danced.


This one came from an email I got. I receive mail from a service called the Listserve, which is basically a lottery with 25,000 or so members, one of whom gets to send a mail to the whole list each day. The mail that inspired this story was from a young woman who draws words all over herself with markers and pens, but has not yet found the words she loves well enough to have them tattooed on herself. It was sent as a private reply to her mail, from my email address but with no other content. I hope she likes it. And I hope you like it, too!


  1. What a great a story, it invokes the feeling of those really old mythical gods in Greek/roman stories.