Every once in a while
Hades will come to pick her up
in the old chariot,
trading in the station wagon for
gilded wheels and wild eyed horses.
She appreciates the effort, although
he doesn't have quite the same effect as he used to,
in his polo shirt and clip-on sunglasses
but there is still sometimes a flutter
in her chest, that old rushing fear when she sees him,
reins now awkward in his hands.
He does not say hello to her mother, who follows
Persephone outside and presses late
harvested fruit into her hands with the same
quiet desperation that makes Persephone press her face
to her husband's chest on the way down, inhaling
his faint scent of sulfur and aftershave.
The months below are long and slow and cold.
She wakes up late to a lightless morning,
alone in bed. She might drift
aimlessly through the halls until the housekeeper
a thin wristed woman who predates even Charon
shoos her out.
Some of us, she mutters,
closing the door behind Persephone,
have work to do.
So maybe she will go
somewhere. Maybe she will see
someone, outside the post office or the
corner store. They might fall
into step beside one another,
slip into a bar, or at least
someplace clean and well lit.
Perhaps they have done this before.
A grove of empty glasses would grow
on the counter before them
like her mother's trees,
until Persephone speaks: How fast,
she says, remembering
that bitter taste
left in her mouth in those moments
after he arrivedtoo late!
how fast did you fly, again?
Oh, honey, he would say, now reaching for his wallet,
You can only tell a story so many times.