He rides in on his stud and deflowers her
on a hill overlooking the Styx.

That’s Hades’ gift to Persephone.
He doesn’t think, therefore he does.

He whisks her into his underground den,
youth for his age, yum for his yang,

but six months on the throne of death
is all that young Per can sit at one stretch.

She begs him to see her needs for once,
for the love of the gods and mama above,

to return her to her spring-making gifts
from which she’s been unkindly cut.

Hades thinks, dear Zeus, I’m fucked.
I’ve forgotten how to sleep alone.

That’s her present to him. She leaves.
He hurts. She buds. He weeps.


©James L. Ralston


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