Danaë’s Lament

Kjerstin Anne Kauffman
| poetry


            After Simonides, frag. 543


Who locked us, child, inside this cunning chest,
left to the stirring sea, the night-lit deep?
Should I be glad you’ve finally gone to sleep?
Should I, too, to this motion, try to rest?
Was I the one who drove us to distress?
Can you not hear? You rest your ear, your cheek,
against the naked plank as though the creak
of wood and brass, the cries that lift my breast,
were only lullabies. Should I fear death?
If this is misery—the box, the breath
of wind above your head, the blue-green sea
that curves beneath—then could I be content?
Are we forgotten, child; distant now; free
from Zeus’s eye? Should I lament?

Kjerstin Anne Kauffman holds an MFA from Johns Hopkins University. Her recent poems appear in such venues as Gulf Coast, Gingerbread House, and 32 Poems, and her essays in The Cresset, Literary Matters (New Series), and The American Poetry Review. She is currently leading a poetry workshop at Hillsdale College.

Hospital Song