Notes on Longing from the Overworld by Meg Freitag
I go downstairs and make breakfast
Like always, like a plastic swimming frog
Wound all the way up and then let go. A light bulb
In the refrigerator burned out, an expired jar
Of marmalade soaking in the sink. The passage of time
Is the underside of a die, a swan dipping its head
Beneath the meniscus of algae that obscures
The filthy lake. In the underworld,
Persephone ate seven pomegranate seeds
From a marble table and her fate was sealed.
If she ever loved Hades it was only because
She ran out of other things to feel. Working
As a soda jerk one high school summer,
I came to loathe the smell of ice cream. I’d swim
In the ocean every evening with my clothes on,
Just to get it off me. Now, grinding beans
For coffee, everything feels for a moment
Like it’s as it always was. The dog
Crunches her kibble, a leaf blower
Down the block starts up, stops, starts up again.
Longing hides beneath these sounds like a shadow
Hides beneath a fallen leaf. Sometimes
It seems absolutely insane to think that
Edith isn’t just in the other room,
Perched in the closet, shitting all over
My one nice coat. To think I will not sleep
In my small bed with him one more time.
Something you can see so clearly now that it’s past,
Shouldn’t you be able to undo?
How quiet all our lives together must seem
When viewed from a great enough
Height. How can anyone have meant
What they said that one night, vodka-drunk
And having left their house keys
In the backseat of a taxicab? How peaceful
We would have looked in sleep,
To a casual observer. Like watching from a boat
Two dolphins caught in the same tuna net.