Inanna pretended she could not breathe from the skulls pushing past her flared bone nostrils at her underground sister’s melodic urging: so Inanna swam through stone tunnels until she reached the flayed sunshine and spread out her skin for the androgynous men to greet sullenly while she prepared dead ankles and thighs for garter belts.
This skulled woman had a dark heart. The chambers pounced upon innocent men. They pulled them apart at the tendon seams. All the ligaments split into separate steaks. Inanna sat teething on the tough muscle. She had knives for teeth and a cardiovascular system in her tongue. At night, she ate what she could steal from the moon’s clawed fists.
In that cave, Inanna challenged one sister, then the next. The girls committed fratricide with their bare hands. Sibling meat tasted just as good as stranger. Let the girls commit to their stomachs. All the men clamor outside the dark, scratching against the walls until the stones fall down. Crush those craniums so that Inanna can wear them all.
The goddess couldn’t make sense of fogged stone peaks. She bit what earthen wares she could and spit out the rest. Soon, the mountain was a valley and Inanna was still carving the subterranean crusts with her back teeth. The dead sister pushed the dirt aside, stirring up streams of lava. She directed them at Inanna’s face but they were already cold.
She threw herself into a river and waited for the riptide to sweep her towards the Stygian. Inside the waves, she found several small moons, each without eyes. The mouths were so large, they devoured Inanna’s entire ankle. She broke the bodies into craters. They became communion wafers. She blessed the crackers and offered them to her sister.
If she could not stay in the water or emerge victoriously from the earth, the goddess would take up the fire. What did she care if her hands smoldered and burned? The charcoal odor was an aphrodisiac no farm-boy could resist. So she rubbed gasoline on her arms, then lit the match. The flames came over her hairs. She sat, brooding, in the core.
Later, she visited dead men. They bit their hands in half and swayed from a rope braided out of her own frayed hair. The men offered her their phalluses and Inanna laughed. She stole their heads and placed them around her garter belt. The brains were more important than the erectile tissue and Inanna was covetous of all that calcified bone.
Rope grew out of her. Inanna tied it around her throat and then her wrists. No good came of the braids. She tugged the cord until her scalp ripped off. The wires went down her throat. The sisters came to pull the other ends but only ended up without their skins. All that wound fiber tasted like bran and Inanna stored it in the back of her head.
No chains could hold her. The sisters tried to hold her down with metal but she breathed fire and cracked the links. The monsters placed dirt shackles around her limbs but she urinated until they turned into mud. Even the hair extensions didn’t matter. She kept long scissors beneath her arms. When she tied the sisters up, she used her tongue.
The ideal world lived within her wrists. The sisters gave her stone shards and placed veils over their faces. They left her alone with her veins. Inanna prayed for three years, then ate her weight in meat. She moved the rocks along her arms until her arms filleted. The gods came to pluck the cords out. Inanna looked skyward and came undone.
Endnote: In Summerian mythology, Inanna was a fertility goddess and warrior who wore the skulls of her dead lovers around her waist. She descended into the underworld and was stripped naked as she passed through seven gates. Finally, she met her sister, Ereshkigal, and was turned into a corpse. Two sexless creatures retrieved Inanna’s body from the underworld. Ereshkigal sent her demons after them. Inanna came upon her lover, Dumuzi, not mourning her death, and in her anger, she gave him to Ereshkigal to take her place in the underworld.
[Alana I. Capria (born 1985) has an MFA in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She resides in Northern New Jersey with her fiance and rabbits. Her writing and links to other publications can be found at http://alanaicapria.com.%5D