50 This Season’s Berries

The leaves of the maple are bronze
purple, shaped like flames
here hang this season’s little
glass berries, the water from passing rains
the weather of little heaves in the chest
cirrus clouds exhaled in bouts of sadness.

Demeter’s not ecstatic this May
and doesn’t bring the summer in a burst of screaming
dancing fire when her daughter is let
to lift her veil this year, but she comes up
slowly. She sees her daughter –
barely makes a word or a passing glance at first

so some days are worse than the last day
and then she is bitter like a clump of dirt, like char.
She has days where she sneers at her girl,
a face like a fishhook has torn her lip.

then days where she is nothing but kind forgetting smiles
then days where the killing seed in her heart billows.
Mostly, she cries. that’s the most interesting to me,
that the crying waits until the moment of relief.

All winter she has buried herself
in a furrowed brow, silently tilled
the sky full of frost, dreamed out shimmering
lights to kill the solar wind,
but come the relief of spring it pops loose:

a wheel that waits to turn until after the carriage is drawn,
a baby who doesn’t cry until she’s held,
a woman who sits at her bedside and thinks

until the thoughts are all gone, condensed into
clear, clear water
on maple leaves.


Gender & Sexuality in Ancient Greece Copyright © by Jody Valentine. All Rights Reserved.

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