“The burden of Sigyn’s arms”

She sits on a rock while a cold wind blows her knotted hair
and the tattered, filthy remnants of her once lovely gown.
Before she was the fairest of all the Ásynjur;
now hardly anyone would recognize her for the lines of sorrow
and ache that etch her pale face like cracks in stone,
like threads of a spider’s web.
Before there was feasting and song and gay laughter
while her flame-haired husband poked fun at the gods
and said the things they most needed but least wanted to hear
– now all she knows is the cup of bone she holds in her strong hands,
a cup carved from the skull of her son Nari.
She hasn’t had time to mourn him properly,
he who was mauled by his brother,
he whose heart was devoured by wolfish Váli,

he whose guts bind the son of Laufey beneath the venom-dripping serpent.
All she does is hold that heavy cup in place to relieve the agony of Loki
until it fills and spills over, burning his face.
Every time he wails it’s like a knife through her heart
but it’s unavoidable — the cup must be poured out
so that she can hold it over him
and collect the deadly dew of of the wyrm of Skaði once more.

In his raging pain-fueled madness he curses her,
blindly lashing out at what’s nearest.

His words strike like fists, wound where none can see
but she does not waver in her task, remains ever by his side,
his steadfast shield in time of greatest need.


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