Demeter Searching

By Christina Mengert

A nymph could have told her,

had it not been changed to water,

the belt in her hand was proof

of violence, violence, violence. 

Unthroated, the water reflected

a murmuration of stars, blinking 

their silent objection

as if to say, see the lilies spilled,

here the hyacinth, here the rose,

and I will give no more the fields,

and I will give no more the throat,

whatever the hunger. As it happens,

a girl can survive the dark so long

as someone sorrows for her, if there

are roots to climb so she might lie

face-up in a field, sun in her eyes, 

parented by sweet grass and rain.

But when the cry came, no one

knew this, not her mother, not even

the daughters of Ocean who buried 

themselves in the sea floor and waxed 

anemone in fear and mourning. 

So much could have been said, but even

the most public songs are private, 

and the caves of our dwelling echo

only the sounds we shout. Out of

the shadows, we follow the golden

thread of Demeter’s searching, 

from puddle to sky and death’s reunion,

in hope that we might too be sought,

that the gods might negotiate 

on our behalf. We climb hills, 

object to crushed flowers, pray

water might open her mouth again, 

and ears of grain in silence reap.

Christina Mengert is the editor and this is an experiment.