She waits for him by the black gate,
where rivers meet in a rush of sound.
Her hands tremble in the cold.
All day she has picked fruit for him,
the grapes he loves and plums,
black as ravens in winter trees.
If he eats, he will warm her blood
with memories of teeth and tongue
and taste. She hopes his hands will
be hard, fingertips calloused from
the strings he plucks, his voice still
clear and honey-rich, hypnotic
with illusion as a sweet summer dawn.
If misery has made him thin or burned
his throat to gravel and ash, she will lie
with him in the asphodel and ferns
until his wild hair bursts into flame,
his melodies revive in smoky air and burn.
[Continue to Orpheus in Winter.]
[Steve Klepetar’s work has received several nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Flutter Press has recently published two chapbooks: My Father Teaches Me a Magic Word and My Father Had Another Eye.]