Song of Persephone

Mam Adar

I. Persephone
In the beginning there are no names.
“Kore” means “girl”, and “Meter” means “mother”.
A girl and her mother, a mother and her daughter,
and the girl can’t imagine her mother
as anything but her mother;
she can’t imagine herself
as anything but a girl.

II. Hades
He is in love with a beautiful woman.
He is in love with a woman who does not know
she is beautiful.
He is in love with a woman
who does not know she is a woman.

III. Persephone
The beginning of the end
starts when the girl can imagine
womanhood: when she is so like
her mother that they can’t help
but hate one another.
It gets into their food
and chokes them;
it gets into their drink
and poisons them.
I could be like her,
the girl thinks.
I could have a daughter
of my own.

IV. Hades
He has nothing to offer her.
He is acutely aware
that he is not good enough for her.
He is called wealthiest of gods,
whose domain holds gold and silver,
copper and gemstones, and
the roots of all things.
What he wants is the sunlight,
and the smell of crushed petals
on sun-warmed skin.
Kore is picking flowers,
wandering away from her friends.

V. Persephone
The poets will call it abduction.
Her mother will call it rape.
Her cousin Hecate, now a girl,
now a hag, will call it
the way things had to be.
The girl gets into his chariot
as girls after her will
get onto motorcycles
into back seats
Cadillacs and unmarked vans
and after that nothing
will ever be the same.

VI. Hades
A god is not a man, and
a goddess is not a woman.
Or a girl. A girl
might be a goddess,
however, and
Hades might want
to worship
someone,
to pretend she’s
stronger than him.

VII. Persephone
She misses the sun,
but he lends her his cloak.
She misses her mother,
but his bed is warm.
She misses the flowers,
but when he enters her,
for the first time she knows
her name, and she is not
her mother, not now,
not never. Persephone,
bride of death.
Orgasm in the underworld.

VIII. Hades
Her mother will never forgive him,
but her very anger
sends him souls.
Hades is kind and welcoming.
Death lasts much longer
than life.

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