White Whale Review: An Online Literary Magazine Untitled Document
WHITE WHALE REVIEW
Rebecca Olson
Rebecca Olson is an MFA student in poetry at Oregon State University and an editor for CALYX Journal. She lives in Corvallis, Oregon in a small house with her cat Bonanza Jellybean. Her work has previously been published in Word Riot.

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Rebecca Olson

Brynhilda,

 

bathing with Sigmund’s new wife

 

Waist-deep in the river, the women stop pretending not to appraise each other’s breasts. The new wife’s hang like large, bloated fish. Brynhilda’s nipples shine like brass buttons before she dives into the water. Then she is alone and there is no sound. Brynhilda runs her foot along the clamshell-littered bottom and a cloud of mica blooms. The shells do not cut her. When she surfaces, her hair is otter-like. His new wife watches from the shallows by the shore, hand washing between her legs, and calls, why do you have to wade out farther than I?

 

realizing it’s over

 

She hasn’t eaten for nine days, lies there under the gray down as though her shins had splintered from the heaviness of his betrayal. She stares at the oak supports of the ceiling—studies its marbled grain like a butcher examining a cut, plotting out the lines between flank and rib. When Sigmund walks past her still room, his hand slides to his hilt. She is not grieving, he thinks, She is planning.

 

when Sigmund apologizes and wants her back

 

Instead of looking at him, she focuses on the granite clusters of the hearth and wonders how many men it took to carry the stones from the river. Each one was turned and fitted, placed intentionally to create an arch—an opening that builds heat. Once the rocks are joined,

 


Rebecca Olson

they cannot be separated without destroying the intended shape. The mortar between the stones bulges out like gray penises. Brynhilda says, I would rather kill you than deceive myself.

 

leaving the castle where they live

 

A rabbit on the trail. She sees it from a distance and locks her joints, erect among the birch trees. The rabbit creeps closer over the springy moss. Brynhilda impales it with her sword, splitting its spine. Its white pulsing tail breathes like living cotton grass, torvmyrull of arctic bogs. It doesn’t bleed much on the blade. Brynhilda wipes it clean on her leg and goes back to the castle. To the rabbit, it had to happen this way.

 

after Sigmund is murdered while he’s in bed with his new wife

 

It is difficult to kill yourself with a sword. First she pierces the white fruit of her armpit, then crunches through the bone cage. She asks to be put on the pyre with him. Sigmund’s wife is there in the hall, and before Brynhilda goes she says, things will not be easy for you, even though I’m dead.

 

 

 

Copyright © Rebecca Olson. White Whale Review, issue 3.1


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