giana

1.

Look, I did what I was told to do. Slayed the dragon, stabbed it in the eyes, watched it burn itself to ash & bone. There were no applauding villages, no grateful kings, no humble gods. I came home with a dead thing wrapped around my waist & all you asked was whether I was planning on keeping it. Hands on your hips, the cat curling himself around your ankle. Said, we don’t need more responsibility. We don’t need another body to carry. I did what I was told to do. I don’t remember why the dragon had to die. I don’t remember if there was a princess or if she was saved or if she even had a name. 


2. 


I’ve got you under my skin. I’ve got you deep in the heart of me.


3.


I find you in the field beyond the sea, twisting flowers out of their stems. You smoked with the others, sand crusting the J, the paper wet with spit. Everything began to sink in and out of your horizon, then the ocean came too close, your mother reaching for your feet, & so you left. Walked straight up the grassy hill, scratchrose thorns kissing your heel. We biked all day, the wind scraping our cheeks. I was tired, you weren’t. In a few days, we’ll go back to New York & in a few months, we’ll graduate high school. We won’t talk outside of Facebook birthday posts & that long message I’ll send you when your foster dad dies. It happens in his sleep, in those timeless hours. One moment here, the next gone. Sinking in and out of the horizon. Right now, you’re stoned & you’re ripping out weeds. I give you my tuna fish sandwich & you tell me it has too much mayo. You toss me the bruised peach in your bag. Achilles, you never told me what drowning was like. You never told me it was the closest you had to a home.


4.


I spill warm milk out the window and all the creatures whine at the doors. Look, I’m bad at playing hero – my cape’s on backwards & I always get lost in the forest. I know you’ve got your doubts. Listen, baby, things are gonna be okay. I never loved you like that anyway. In this story, I make you a girl, and in that story, you make me a boy. See? We can both be happy. I’ve watched you cradle loss like a newborn, the ground outside full of things we love. I’ve got my ghosts and they wear my old clothes so well. My favorite one slips between us when we sleep, holds both our hands, quiets the clotting in my chest, cools the sticky rocks in your throat.  


5. 


And repeats, repeats in my ear: don’t you know, little fool, you never can win?


6.


Much later, the water comes & we don’t do anything to stop it. You know how I die – don’t watch, okay? You know how ugly I am when I cry. I’ll miss you, sugar doll. I’ll miss you, bumblebee. I’ll miss you, Achilles. I’ll wait for you in that coffee shop in Meknes. I’ll wait for you in the Philly airport. Baby boy, I’ll drizzle you with chocolate sauce & eat you right up. I’ll see you in this life or the next or the next or the next.

—  Briseis, Reimagined, Yasmin Belkhyr (with lines from Frank Sinatra)
2

Some time ago I received a PM where Nonie suggested drawing Giana in SSB-style, although when I started to paint it I got a sidetracked and this, huh, weird render came out. I apologise, Nonie. Maybe next time…

I’m not particularly happy with it, there are odd things happening here and there, but all in all it was still a good render work-out.

-Progress GIF-