Persephone Sleeping

By Annette Marie Hyder

Persephone sleeps.
It is that time of year when she is as much in limbo
as the frozen trees and lakes and silenced katydids.
She has dropped her scepter mid-flourish and swooned
to cushions made ready for her annual foray
into the long corridor that is a dream
that connects winter to the spring.

Her pomegranate lipstick
(a personal choice to flaunt and celebrate her scars)
curves along her lips in a soft smile
(ah pomegranate, whose tiny seeds were sown like dragon’s teeth
with, not warriors, but the whirlwind  for her to reap).
Her lids are curtains drawn to shield the dream
of spring that all the flowers dream concomitantly too.

Her heavy lashes, an equal mix of wool and silk, are tie-down sashes
that hold her eyelids to her cheeks.
She is left to use her pale hands to trail along the narrow walls
which are bas-reliefed with roots and painted drear.
She walks up the long corridor, a greater Eurydice but blind,
gaining substance as she goes, ghosting from one realm to this other.

Her yearly reemergence is, and perhaps I am the first to tell you this,
a long sleepwalk out of hell, a lucid dream as well
one in which she knows she will awaken
on a bed of flowers beneath open skies
that draw her gaze to trace infinity.

She knows she has not left her other self behind.
She cannot. She carries the seeds of death sewn cunningly
in her hair. Braided with maypole ribbons and set to take flight
into the air — on the first zephyr breeze that comes along.
But those seeds also have within them every brief splash and splurge of color
every petal yet unfurled. Such is the weight of life and death she carries in her curls
as she lies sleeping, chthonic/kore Persephone.