After Persephone Fled the Underworld
The sun struck a fringe of silver birch and my legs gave.
My chest unbuckled its thorns and an owl rose with the beat
of my longing. Its wings sown from burial lace, its mealy
mouth so dirty with hunger for warmth, for fire. My mother
once said l couldn’t belong to two worlds, that l would have to choose.
My owl hunts at daybreak as l sleep in my womanly bones.
Daffodils flood my awakening with yellow torches. Every day
the villagers bring me sweet breads covered with cloth napkins
and cunning eyes. I read their fortunes, press my thumb along
the length of each heart line curved like a peach, each fate. I read
their darkness, witness the way they push each other away.
I have painted my owl’s feathers black, carried baskets of flowers down
the stone steps inside myself but it is not enough to lighten me.
Poppies stir within my cave. They shiver like a stream beneath my pulse.
Each evening l taste the sun like a fruit and spit out the moon
while my body grows older and my hair whitens, flows over
my eyes like water rushing over moonlight. This is when l tire,
when time becomes cold and quiet. When l become winter.
Lisa Megraw has had her work nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize. She has poems forthcoming or recently published in Weave Magazine, Third Wednesday, Apeiron Review and others. Recently, she won first prize in the Ware Poets Open Poetry Competition. She is the editor-in-chief of Little Lantern Press www.littlelanternpress.com