by Theodora Goss
If you were in hell,
for the sin of eating pomegranates
or something equally nonsensical,
I would go down myself
into Hades’ stagnant realm,
passing Cerberus, tossing him a biscuit,
and have a talk with Persephone.
Goddess, I would tell her,
you understand longing. You have felt
it in your chest, that piece of red thread
tied around your heart, pulling
you upward in spring, toward your mother,
toward the ground sprouting hyacinths, narcissi;
pulling you down again to your dark lord
when winter comes.
Goddess, give me this man,
although he is bound to your service,
although he has a face fairer than the ships
of the Achaeans and eyes like rain,
which you, who appreciate beauty in men,
collecting the best of them, Achilles,
Hector, Patroclus, must admire.
Give him to me, out of pity,
one woman to another.
If you deny this request,
I will stay here with him, a disturbance,
a discrepancy in the land of the dead.
When she gave you back to me,
I would take your hand and lead you
to the land of the living, never once
looking back, no matter how much I wanted
to see your face. My love
would be stronger than my curiosity.
I would not look at you until
you stood beside me again in sunlight
under the blossoming olive trees
on Mount Ida.
(The image is Proserpina by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.)