In him is a loneliness so complete he cannot feel it.
I grow to fit it.
My hips, under his, give way.
Everywhere the air is thin with ghosts–they float
like mist across the edges of the eye, gone
when the head turns to acknowledge. Their courtesy
makes a path for me to pass, a cleaner atmosphere.
We are not just lovers,
but no one understands this.
My mother lies with Poseidon, Dionysus, Helios, Hermes
and is unchanged. I am
other than I was.
A consort. A Queen.
No more a maiden but still with maiden hands.
It’s true that I am less without him
but when he sees me
all the gold of this world glows against the marble walls
and the veins of the deep stones blush with color.
His bones make a soft place for me on his granite bed.
His touch is the sweet glance of the past, but his laugh–
he has always been expecting me.
From Eating in the Underworld. Copyright © 2003 Rachel Zucker.