Persephone

Red round fruit

Persephone

Was she always
like a moth against the flame
desperate to get back to day,
to planting season,
held below against her will,
tear-streaked prisoner
on her underground throne?

Perhaps she came reluctant
back to light, blinking,
clutched too tight
against her mother’s breast,
Demeter now free to bring the grain,
daughter dreaming of return
to such a deep, dark nest.

What if in those fallow months
she wrapped herself instead
in robes velvet as the night
no need of pretty frocks
for summer dance.
She patted Cerberus, greeted newcomers,
thanked the ferryman for his pains,

enjoyed her marriage bed, her
pomegranate seeds,
each one red, sweet
hard at core
her fingernails bright with stain
her lips red, too
who was to see?

Content to wake night to
night with Hades
king of that underworld
who loved her
in that place
helped her find
a different kind of light.

 

Poem by Sarah Kotchian

 

Sarah Kotchian’s book Camino about the author’s 500-mile solo pilgrimage in Spain received the New Mexico and Arizona Book Award and the Seven Sisters Book Award. Her writing has appeared in “Persimmon Tree,”
“Bosque Journal,” “Listen,” “Presence,” and “ABQ inPrint.” She was a contributor in poetry at the 2019 Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.