Max Orr

Zeus Negotiates with Hades
Persephone, Silenced

So let’s say she eats it – 
seeds and all – 
this wet and red fruit 
of the dead – and consents 
for a moment 
to wear your rotting crown. 
What then, when oceans 
are born of her grief? 
Persephone is nothing 
to you without charm,
and all those bodies
floating in the salt 
of her tears – that won’t do 
The wailings of the dead 
are enough. Would you add
her sorrow to the din?
So why don’t we split her, hm? 
In the months of her mother’s wrath, 
the humans will know hunger, sure, 
but they’ve grown fat anyway.
While she picks Daffodils in May, 
bronzing in the season of life – 
you’ll recall why the dead 
make such poor company – 
will learn to miss
the way she only smiles 
with half of her teeth – 
come Autumn, how warm
her strange willingness 
will seem – how blessed 
the way she forgets 
you tore a mouth 
of Earth, reached withered 
hands across the breach 
and made of her an unwilling 
Monarch: part-time queen
of the always dead 

Max Orr teaches English in Columbus. His work examines the interactions between the self and the natural world, inside environments, and loved ones. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Pudding MagazineMaudlin House, and The Mantle.