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Persephone

— Megan Denton Ray

Dear goldenrod stow-away, dear rise
          and shine: this morning my skylights pulse
                    with summer. I have thought of you splashing back

                              into the shut-slow April—you digging up
          a square foot of soil for six pomegranates
and a maidenhair fern. How in a dream

                              I carried you milk in a glass. How when we knelt
                    to prune the roses we giggled at the prospect
of playing God. How you looked like a burnt stone

                              shifting in the night. How—not wanting to hurry
the feast—I rolled raspberry seeds between my tongue
          and teeth. Dear psychomotor, blazing star, astilbe queen: See,

          I dreamed I was your wild gasoline skipper,
gumshoe Christ. The sour cherry wept in its bud, held its breath,
                    sat tight—you know, the way a sour cherry

can only pollinate another sour cherry
                    and so on. The way wild things stay wild. Of course
          you filled my mouth with spice cake, then the smallest

          Bartlett pear. A bee with pollen on its pants. A root: birth-blue.
                    There’s a story to be told about us—how I held up the quilt
and you slid under. How we found the lantern-lit forest, speckled

                    with begonias and cedar chests. How we made a home
          full of flowers and named it Prosperina. How when I left you,
                    I hid seeds in your hair so you wouldn’t forget: plant the barley.


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