My nymph Aglaia was cold and pale as a watery grave:
lovelier, I’m sure, than Leda’s pretty girl,
who all the men round here are mad about, or were.
Our first kiss was a cup of cool water on a hot day.
She drank me thirstily, her tongue like river currents in my mouth.
Our second, a small waterfall trickling down a rocky hill.
She slid her icy nipples across my soft blood-warm human breasts.
Our third was dark water under a screen of ferns and willows.
Her hair, silver-green as pondweed in moonlight, coiled around my knees.
For many liquid months I kissed that chilly mouth,
those sweet melting declivities – and now I am undone.
Her spring flows cold and sweet and melting still
into the pool below, but she is gone.
Aglaia’s gone. My naiad’s gone, or hides herself from me.
I haunt Aglaia’s spring.
I suck the water from her moonlit pool until my skin might burst,
brushed by a waving frond of weed or some small water-beast,
but still I thirst for her. My mouth is dry as death.
The people I see now are strange.
Their clothes and words are baffling;
they look through me.
But I will wait forever, if I must,
for meltwater kisses from Aglaia’s icy mouth
when my sweet nymph returns.
[Jenny Blackford didn’t finish her Classics PhD about Indo-European Religion, but Pamela Sargent described her historical novella set in classical Delphi and Athens, The Priestess and the Slave, as “elegant.” Her current major project is writing the improbably dramatic life of Bronze Age princess Medea, priestess of Hekate and grand-daughter of Helios. She has a centaur poem in The Pedestal Magazine #70.]