Skin II: Hypatia Under the Shadow


By Vincent Joseph Noto

“This is somebody who should be a household name, yet somehow she’s been relegated to the footnotes of history.”
–Bethany Hughes, Historian

In Alexandria’s ancient streets
the fierceness of Christian mobs—
hardly different than the claws
and fangs of lions—tore into her
flesh. With shards of ceramic roof-tiles,
sharp as oyster shells baked hard
in the Afro-Mediterranean
sun, they flayed Hypatia alive
slicing her skin from her body.
The two separated forever
as that enlightened female’s mind
from this earth. No astrolabe, no
computer, no wise astrologist
divining, can calculate the day
men’s hearts will loosen their fearful
grip on potshards of broken logic,
nor is there any hydrometer
built to measure the density
of ignorance—like screams
unheeded and forgotten—
or the thickness of blood even
under the shadow of the great
library at Serapeum.


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