(Note: This poem was an inspiration for my short play Getting Back.)
Persephone is back
and I want to ask her, did you learn to love
the old geezer?
Did time prove fruitful
as old wives say? When you fold his socks,
do you practice generous sentiments?
Did he regret his crime, his vigorous thrusts
dissolved to tenderness? Did Cupid
teach him a thing or two? I wonder how it felt, not the first time
but the fiftieth, when familiarity relaxed the fear a bit
and his passion, somewhat sated, allowed for molding, bending.
A suggestion that he touch
a bit more lightly, that he smoke out-of-doors,
that you’ve heard the same old story.
Suggestions taken more gladly because your hands
adjust the knottings in his back, you listen
to his sad complaint all evening— the sub-gods,
middle management, botching his orders. He can’t
resort to threats. They’re already in the Underworld.
He sighs. You’ve been a dear. I am so grateful.
What can I do for you? Name anything. A visit to the light?
Oh, but don’t stay too long.
Or perhaps it’s not like that at all.
Perhaps you lie beneath him
stiff, unyielding. You even kick and scream and bite
so that he slaps and curses as he has his way.
Even a small revenge can be very very sweet.
© Christine Kallman, 1998, All Rights Reserved