Size / / /

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 arrived—too 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.




Rebecca Del Giorgio currently lives in Santa Barbara, California. This is her first published work, and she is trying to be cool about it.
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