“Be to her, Persephone,
All the things I might not be”
Alone and awake in the hours before dawn,
the one who turns the shadows beneath sleeves
and taps the freckle on my left knee
like incense smoke inhaled by the air
dances when I light a flame
and finally to me revealed her name.
She sat by the black pool and cast a call to the East,
blessed the Western currents, the Northern Star, the Southern heat.
She gazed into the black pool and extinguished a burning wish.
What to do with all this night sky…
Truth pulls like a fire, hunting for the core of shame,
cracks the bones of every deception; this hidden repertoire of blame.
(Even now, I cannot stand rhyme but she promises it just takes time.)
Every level grates her finely while searching Mother Earth for a familiar fool
like tuning a radio to the right frequency;
when the others speak, she is listening to a swimming pool.
The guests who danced to remember, and those who danced to forget
know her as the shadow they could not chase,
merely distractions on the path to understanding,
precious years of her life they conspired to waste.
Surely as the moon transforms each cycle,
as destined as the solar star to die,
with pomegranate seeds she bleeds, she laughs, and she, too, cries.
There is beauty in singularly facing fear;
“My dear, my dear,
It is not so dreadful here.”
(Lines adapted from Prayer to Persephone by Edna St. Vincent Millay, 1892-1950)