Poetry: Ariadne by Gustav Parker Hibbett

It’s difficult to make myths new, but Gustav Parker Hibbett’s haunting interpretation of Ariadne’s longing for escape does just that, offering a complex and elegant glimpse into the at-first fresh, and then nagging and expansive impulse to “set out.”


borrowing a line from Deborah Tall’s
“Mountain Road (Rockwell Kent, c. 1960)”

I imagine it began like this:
sea birds returning bearing

hints of music in their grating
calls. Set out. Quiet at first.

Until their beady eyes became
an accusation, until she started

seeing longing in the air that held
their wings. Set out. Even a child

knows how. In case she thought that
leaving might be difficult, just in case

she’d started thinking setting out alone
was something noble. Each morning,

she felt it scratching, eating at the palace
stone before she even opened up her eyes.

And then all day the island stung
with it, as if this feeling was a wound

that she could only dress in open water.
Set out. In her dreams, a voice told her

it didn’t matter where, while the stars cut
yellow cracks across the sea’s obsidian.

Sometimes she’d go to sit atop the cliff
that seagulls roost in, up where their screams

made sweet cacophony. Here, where the air
would crackle with the impetus for flight.


Gustav Parker Hibbett

Gustav Parker Hibbett is a Black poet, essayist, and MFA dropout. Originally from New Mexico, they are currently pursuing a PhD at Trinity College Dublin. They are a 2023 Obsidian Foundation Fellow, and they were selected as a runner-up for The Missouri Review’s 2022 Poem of the Year award. Their most recent work appears or is forthcoming in Guernica, fourteen poems, Banshee, The Stinging Fly, London Magazine, The Adroit Journal, Poetry Ireland Review, and Propel. You can also find them on Twitter (@gustav_parker) and Instagram (@gustavparker).

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