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Persephone's First Season in Hell
That winter I learned what the animals know.
My hair thickened,
blood grew cold and slow,
and as the flowers had fallen
from my apron, so joy and memory
spilled from the sack of my skin.
Now that food was safe,
I would not eat.
The chewed heart
of pomegranate blocked my throat.
All I had cherished went on
above. Mother's tears watered my roof.
Armored in loneliness
I learned to love no one.
The dead scurried about
while my heart slept—
red seed beneath its tree of bone.
I learned to quicken my husband's pleasure
and to melt memories of his touch with tears.
My marriage lengthened and coiled.
Above the black walls of my world, Apollo
drifted in his ring of fire.
With half his journey done,
the ground above me split.
Like a child in the womb I felt
the tingle beneath the fingernails
that marks the end of death.