Pomegranate

Demeter cried, walking through the fields.

She stumbled and plunged among the barberries

Her feet slipped sideways in hidden furrows

Sloppy with old corn shucks and stalks.

Clinging to her clothes were burdock seeds in fuzzy clusters

A bright bracelet of blood sprang upon her hand at the touch of a wiry orange-beaded briar.

Overhead the crows circled and cawed

The autumn sun glittered wickedly upon their backs.

Around the edges of the fields,

Around the bases of the bare trees

Writhed wild grapes, buckthorn, bittersweet,

Rank tansy, milkweed, lady's-thumb strained sideways toward the dying light.

(where are you where are you where are you)

Apollo drives the sun chariot down the curving day 

Thick black fingers stripe the red sky

A forbidding gate behind Olympus

Where the gods are eating and drinking and making love.

(where are you where are you)

Until Mercury took pity on her.

Mercury came running through the dark cold fields

And his golden shoes shone in the darkness

and the wings on his helmet shot sparks

and the snake staff twisted

and the snake tongues sparkled

and his face still sweat-streaked from the wine, the dance and

          the distance

Smiled

And he opened his lips and he said

She's with Hades

In his cavern

He took her for his queen

She's the queen of the underworld.

And Mercury danced away

Over the fields

Fading to a glimmer then gone.


So then she knew.

(where are you)

Then all the long winter stretched away in front of her The painful spring

The earth opens

Persephone comes out

Blinking in the cruel April sunlight

A difference upon her face

Her pretty hair dark with damp

Her pretty dress is torn

Under her Fingernails

The black stain of six pomegranate seeds.  

KP

21. 11.2000