Author: Joanne Lowery

A nice dead lady asked me my name:
Persephone, from up there, I said, pointing.
Hell being what it is, the waiting room was packed
with mortals and goddesses alike, shamed.
She led me to a room where a swab
took DNA to confirm Hades the repeat offender
who hot-rodded his chariot and stallions
to snatch me to the underworld.
When I talked about how the ground opened up
I sobbed but did not mention my mother
running after us with greedy fingers.
All of a sudden everyone wanted me;
now what I wanted was a pill to cast his seed
into perpetual winter. The next time
he wouldn’t have to come get me
nor would there be a report to file.
I’d be a girl used to justify seasons,
a reason for why there’s never enough bread.
I’m okay, I said, skittering off the table.
Oh yes, someone’s here to pick me up.
He’s out in the parking lot having a smoke.
Call my mom, tell her not to worry.

If I get only half,
I’ll make sure everyone else gets less.
That Hades creep has napped my girl,
and Zeus expects me to be happy
to have her part-time,
a lousy custody truce.
So if Persephone with her butterscotch hair
can’t be here picking flowers,
I’ll twirl my ragged gray coat
through your world, add snow to May
and sleet to October, let you enjoy
four months of bounty at best
knowing all the while how quickly it will leave,
earth’s harvest sucked away.
Don’t whine: I have little enough to share.
For now that she enjoys those chariot rides,
she comes into my arms without a smile,
her garland of blossoms wilting.