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"A Prayer to Echion"

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Hear me, oft-honored Echion,
     Earthborn ancestor.
     It is I,
             daughter of Creon,
                 the heir to your house,
                     and I am scared.
The seer Tiresias proclaimed me
     the flame-haired Creonide
     whose feet shall follow
     in the footsteps of Ino.
But so far
     my most adventurous footsteps
         have been to fetch water
         during this plague.
I've been an unworthy vessel of your blood,
     but I can do better.
     I will do better.
         Just please, please send help.
I beg your mercy and your aid.
     Bar your gate against my pursuer!
     Bring stones down upon his head!
     Save this most penitent child of your line!
     Because . . .
     Because . . .
     Because I want to live,
         to do as I'm destined,
         to increase the glory of your house.
I duck under the statue and into the gate.
My fingers brush the alcove altar
     slick with offerings of blood and wine.
A kiss on my fingertips seals my beggar's prayer.
My hopeful ears prick up, listening for the
     Crack! Crack!
of stones tumbling into the gateway behind me,
but all I hear are more of those damnable footfalls.
I huff out
     a crestfallen breath,
How can my oft-honored ancestor be
     so useless in my time of need?


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