The Garden of Evening

To find it you must sail beyond the sunset,
Where wild waters whirl with western stars,
Bathing beneath the ocean’s salty surface
As day slides into deep-hued night.
Drunk on stardust, the wine-dark sea
Will slap against your wooden bow,
Storm waves whisking you round and round
Through lonely swells of luminous light.

Follow the voices, clear as bells,
To the enchanted isle of perpetual evening,
Where sea mists circle purple shores
Like the smokey prayers of vesper hours.
Here, the Hesperides dwell
Among bowers of cypress, poplar, elm,
Three sisters singing softly among
Pink apple blossom flowers.

Pull your ship upon the shore
To greet the Daughters of the Evening,
Your salt-soaked skin will shiver when you smell
The scent of apples in their auburn hair.
Ladon looms, a constellation
Coiled in the darkening sky,
His hundred voices hiss a song of
Hunger, temptation, desire, despair.

When you cross the threshold to the garden
You will find a grove of apple trees,
Golden in the inky dusk,
Juices oozing, sticky, sweet.
Drunk on nectar, you will hear sacred voices
Whispering in the western breeze,
Sharing ecstasies with those who dare to sail
The lonely, luminous, sunset seas.

[Kelly Jarvis works as the Special Projects Writer for Enchanted Conversation: A Fairy Tale Magazine where she writes poetry, stories, and essays. Her poems have been featured in Mermaids Monthly, Blue Heron Review and Eternal Haunted Summer, and her most recent short story was published in the World Weaver Press Anthology Mothers of Enchantment: New Tales of Fairy Godmothers. She teaches literature and writing at Central Connecticut State University.]