Issue > Poetry
Emily Paige Wilson

Emily Paige Wilson

Emily Paige Wilson is the author of I’ll Build Us a Home (Finishing Line Press, 2018). She has received nominations for Best New Poets, Best of the Net, and the Pushcart Prize. Her work can be found in The Adroit Journal, Hayden’s Ferry Review, PANK, and Thrush, among others. She lives in Wilmington, where she received her MFA from University of North Carolina.

Hypochondria, Least Powerful of the Greek Gods (iii)

When Hypochondria was ten, she stole eyeshadow from her mother. Smeared a green sheen over both eyelids and thought herself beautiful. Then she became torn by the fear of being a moss-covered statue, her body taken over by some other living thing. She stayed home from school that day, missed the class photo. Hypochondria hates to walk on hardwood floors. When she arranges bouquets, she labels each stalk with the flower's proper name. Each lilac and lily, every baby's breath. Hypochondria's heard she has a laugh like witchcraft. Aphrodite once explained to her the ways of love, said, "Everyone has their own rock bottom." Hypochondria took this literally—assumed we all have different semi-precious stones in our shoes: the betrayed with toes of turquoise; betrayers with malachite-studded heels. Hypochondria has never really forgiven Zeus for not asking her to help make language for the humans. There are too few words for "stop," she thinks. People need at least one for when it's playful, one for when it prevents pain.

Hypochondria, Least Powerful of the Greek Gods, and the Solar Eclipse

While all the other gods have been
excited for this solar eclipse, Hypochondria

has been harvesting her nerves all summer.
She won't speak of her concerns, though

they splinter her eyes every time she tries
to smile. She can imagine how they'll describe

the image in slippery similes: the sun like a new divorcée
raising a glass of chocolate stout to her mouth.

Bottoms up and lonely. The moon slipping
the sun on like an old shoe, a ring

of wiggle room around its lunar ankle.
Hypochondria can hear the other gods now—almost

holding their breath as they whisper
path of totality as if they crafted that phrase

themselves. But what do they know? They're gods,
not poets. Only Hermes tries to help,

hands her a pair of glasses—silver film
of resin safe enough to look through.

"It will block out the light," he says,
"so you can see without going blind."

And while it's sweet, Hypochondria now knows
he's unclear on how fear works.


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