C. Dale Young


In the old story, the boy is depicted as delicate,
lithe, and beautiful. Ovid had it wrong.
Yes, the boy was beautiful, beautiful enough
to capture the god’s attention, but he was not
delicate. He was anything but delicate,

the muscles toned from working the fields.
Listen to me; the gods are rarely conventional.
The lovely woman is transformed into
an old hag, the too-slow voyeur becomes
the quick stag to be chased and shot through

by a single arrow. So, in the case of this young man,
he must have been strong, anything but delicate
like these flowers. The gods are convincing
when they need to be. Believe me, they are
honey-mouthed and persistent. The boy

had to be strong, but he was not stronger than the gods.  
He was seduced, but who isn’t seduced by
immortality? In the field, the boy was every bit
the archer as the god. He was just as powerful
with the spear, the slingshot, and the discus.  

Ovid writes that the god loved the boy,
loved him more than any living thing
on this earth. But we know better.  
The gods love only themselves. In the field,
the clearing ringed by trees, the boy did not

try to catch the discus. He was running from it,
running from the god, the god who took aim
and sliced him clean through with a single shot.  
You see, this is not love. A god commanding
spilled blood become delicate blue flowers is not love.