Acervate

by Pierce Nahigyan

Cora did not often talk about her time with Dionysus. Men were usually intimidated by the lover of a God, having to measure up and such. Mortal men equated immortals with titanic genitalia and the kind of stamina blind poets wrote run-on sentences about. Excepting their penchant for shape shifting, this had not been Cora’s experience. A woman could hurt herself in pursuit of that violent business, or hurt worse when pursued by it. Just ask Leda, she’d say. But mortal men were sensitive.

The immortals were sensitive, too. Like children or celebrities. They were very fine and dignified, but that came with getting their way. The squabbling was worse than amongst mortal families, because no matter their animosities, mortal relatives eventually died. The pantheon, however, just went on hating and marrying each other, inclined to enable each other’s vices and commit heinous acts with hurricanes.

When Dionysus invited her to the reunions she usually sat in the corner with Hephaistos and listened to him moan about his leg, or his cheating wife-sister. He wasn’t much fun but at least he had a job. If she listened to him blubber over Aphrodite long enough he might be moved to smithy up a small gold toe ring for her or a bracelet. It was a small price to pay, and she thought it might make Dionysus jealous. They fought continuously.

She stayed in the relationship so much longer than she should have. And whenever she tried to remember why, she could never get past the surface things: He drove a nice chariot, he was handsome (in an androgynous, delicate sort of way), he knew all the right people, he was lord of acervate fruits. Pan and the nymphs followed him around constantly, and all that noise and all that sex and consumption made everything seem a much bigger deal than what was happening elsewhere. But within it, at its center, was Dionysus, and she realized that they had nothing past the surface things.

Cora was an acescent woman, of course, and for loving a god and confiding such mockery to this poet she was struck blind and fell into an acidulous needle bush, whereupon she bled, and from her blood horses with the manes of cacti arose and stamped her to death, dragged her over a field of carrion and threw her off the Tarpeian Rock. Enorches be praised.