Orpheus

…so for your arrogance

I am broken at last…

—HD “Eurydice”

I fell

(a bird’s cry)

stumbled over

the weight of the sky,

(twisted in the air)

all of mortality

smothering us

(joined the liturgy of curses

eaten by the dead).

The cry I plucked

from your lips,

your frown;

(a bird’s cry)

I wanted you that badly

(twisted in the air).

I tripped

over your slow step,

the kudzu vine across the path

or something else

equally absurd

(joined the liturgy of curses

eaten by the dead).

I had to stop myself

from looking sooner,

pushed the wanting down

until it was nothing

but a whisper. Then

the bird screamed.

*

This poem first appeared in Lupercalia.

Photo Credit: Nymphs Finding the Head of Orpheus, John William Waterhouse 1900

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jessicahalseywrites

Jessica Halsey is the author of The Slaughter Chronicles and many strange poems. She lives in Arkansas and writes urban fantasy, preternatural horror, and experimental poetry (and sometimes science fiction).

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