Stone Telling

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Persephone in Hel

by Sonya Taaffe

Half her face is rotted grain.
Through dry wheat withies,
the daub and grate of her ribs,
the pomegranate smolders,
a red sun at the rim of a winter field.
To kiss her is the spade's slice
into grave-goods, the late earth scattering
sockets, teeth, fibula pins.
To slip into her is digging for poppies.
She reaches in me for famine and the knife.
We fall on the threshold
in dying flowers and frozen dew,
our faces laid together a single facade.
You look at us and see two deaths entangled,
but between us there is always room for you.

Sonya Taaffe has a tried and tested devotion to mythology and folklore. Poems and short stories of hers have won the Rhysling Award, been shortlisted for the SLF Fountain Award and the Dwarf Stars Award, and been reprinted in The Yearís Best Fantasy and Horror, The Alchemy of Stars: Rhysling Award Winners Showcase, The Best of Not One of Us, and Trochu divnť kusy 3, and a selection of her work can be found in Postcards from the Province of Hyphens and Singing Innocence and Experience (Prime Books). She holds masterís degrees in Classics from Brandeis and Yale and once named a Kuiper belt object.

Read Sonya's discussion of this poem, and mythic poetry, over at the Roundtable!

Photography: Natura Morta - Melograno, by Francesco Biccheri.