Eurydice Sings

“Black irises rise like swords
along dark, silken rivers,”
I sang,
“their crepe falls as wrinkled
as tender batwings,
more tempting than gaudy narcissi
or reeking lilies
in the stale green world above.”

His steps never faltered.

“Unnamed grey fruits with heavy stones
droop Styx-wards,”
my voice coaxed.
“They taste like honeyed peaches
once you learn the hunger of the dead.
Our blood-juiced pomegranates
sustain even queens.”

He never once turned round.

“The dead are gifted choristers,”
my song told his hunched shoulders.
“They’ll build your hymns harmonies
so complex, the air will shimmer
like the sunsets trapped in opal.”
I reached in
and down, beyond the caverns’ roots
to the darkest hole in Hades,
breathed a breath
so deep I almost felt alive.

I let go of words,
gave him naked music,
let the last notes trill like hidden streams
before my voice plunged
like a waterfall to the abyss.

That was how I did it,
out-sang the singer who in life
won every contest, always bested me
till I kept myself dumb,
ever-patient listener and muse.

That was how I did it,
finally won.

Even though it meant hell’s dark doors
closed on me forever.

[Sandi Leibowitz is a native New Yorker who early in life fell in love with Apollo, Artemis and other beautiful deities and their tales and, unlike Orpheus, never looked back. Her fantasy fiction and poetry, mostly based myth and fairy-tales, has appeared or is forthcoming in Mythic Delirium, Goblin Market, Jabberwocky, Apex, Niteblade, Cricket and other magazines. She also sings classical, folk and early music, and performs with New York Revels.]

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