Not a Maiden

Persephone and Bromios by kourete on dA (deactivated account)


My mother thinks that I said no.
She’s better off, in my opinion.
Last we met I was a slender creature,
with sprigs of thyme and flowers in my hair
barefoot and giggling, lily-white,
legs crossed if a man looked towards me.
Everything was boys and ribbons
a blush and a sigh
with downcast eyes.

There are days when I still wish for flowers

and wake to find jet roses at my feet.
I am full and red and ripened now,
not some tender little thing.
I have no further need for sonnets
or for ribbons in my hair
for now I speak the tongues of nightmare
and robe myself in spider’s silk,
with shadow for my cloak.

She would have wed me to some bright-eyed boy
smart as a horse and hung like Hermes
who would follow me around
and paw at me with the lights out.
How do you tell your mother
you prefer to fuck in the firelight?
I would not sit idly in the glaring sun
fanning myself and drinking watered wine
when I can bathe in the flame of night
and rake my nails across Death’s shoulders.

Grandchildren, she always said.
It never occurred to me to disagree;
but the choirs of the dead are far more pleasing
than the whine of a child hanging from my breast.
It would surprise her to know
that in this place, this woman need not bow her head
this woman is no mere wife,
and my word is also law.

Tell her for me, when you go back–
tell her that I was afraid,
that I begged to be sent home,
and that he held me down and pushed my knees apart.
It’s best, I think, that she not know
my screams were not from fear.
Besides, I lost it when I was fourteen
behind the stable while she was away.
Perhaps for her my memory is best left lily-white.

Let her cry rape to Olympus if it pleases her.
Let her beg and weep for my release;
I swallowed far more than seeds that night
so I think her cause is lost.
She’ll feel better if she thinks I grieve
for those scattered blossoms on the hillside
but I have learned to love the taste of blood
and I am not going anywhere.

Original work by Dianne Sylvan.

9 thoughts on “Not a Maiden

  1. erishilton says:

    Hello Spine, meet Chills!

    This winter has felt off for me too… We’ve gotten more rain than usual, and everything is green like early spring, but there are still pretty colored leaves left on some of the trees. The Lady has been quiet for me, but she usually is this time of year.


  2. Violet Hour Muse says:

    I have read several imaginative retellings of the Persephone/Kore myth. I firmly believe the myth is told the way it is because the prudes have difficulty believing the female sexuality can be predatory and proactive – like a mans. This myth was exploded to some extent in the Australian fictional novel “The Bride Stripped Bare” – an interesting midrash of the Kore/Hades/Demented Mother myth. The literary critics missed the symbolism.


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