Persephone, Trapped

It’ll be a good deal for you, they said, feigning pity
as they stamped the official-looking document
without my consent. You would think that goddess’s rights
would have meant something here, but not lately.

Even now, I fail to grasp why this is any different:
I’ve not missed inhabiting a mortal body, not one bit.

This model easily breaks. It feels imaginary pain
at the slightest written provocation. It weeps
to hear strains so many pale shades short
of Orpheus’s lyre. It takes no noticeable gain
from fleshly pleasures, only burns when poetry
is sunk like an axe-blade in its veins.

There’s sweetness, though, that’s unexpected—
the fiery shiver in her quiet eyes when he comes
in the door, the fervent longing to touch him
even though she doesn’t. She waits for him to make
the first move, and her welcome is as cool
as grape-skin ready to yield. Her grandfather’s garden
was Eden, and she struggles to express the taste
of sugar-pears in one soft, restrained brush
of her lips. She remembers pain yet undetected.

And then there are my eyes, the fractured yielding
of the mirror as I numbly realize that their color
has changed. Where once they were unfaltering grey,
these irises feather and splinter with shades
of sheer yearning. Blue, silver. Fey-wild burning
like a storm-tossed, wreck-riddled sea. Still hungry.

No different, I tell them.

Not one bit.

—Adrienne J. Odasso