Demeter in the Overworld
Pray for my daughter:
for Charon’s dipped oars in the obsidian of forgetting:
for a girl’s half-expectant face.
. . . Once, returning
home, you think you catch
a glimpse of her: old god, awash
and diesel smoke
in a high street swarmed
with graystained voices and gray
coats, wearing her waiting buttoned
to the throat,
on the other shore
of the road’s harsh
and catalytic sea.
Some woman’s face, you think,
one more mother
among the press
of the street; unremarkable as the missing
posters that mar
the symmetry of brick.
So you walk
on because the sun
is already shallow
in the sky; you have no
time to stop or help or pray.
Pray, gods. For the mother:
for the trees crouched uselessly above her:
for these last ice-bitten lilies of the valley hanging their heads.
by Cameron Clark
Editor’s Note: In this poem, the juxtaposition of old myth with modern life creates an dichotomy that vibrates between nostalgia and yearning.
Milton with Galileo, 1638
You were old when we met, blind,
your guarded house a satellite,
full of clocks & books telescoping
into shadow. I was young: had come armed
with arguments & old heresy; but as you spoke silence
rose in me & I listened. You told me how each night the sky
had rearranged your sense of hierarchy:
the world, one more mothlike planet, endlessly
circling; of the book burnings, the cold-eyed guards,
your Church’s punishment. Look through the glass
you said, but clouds hung a ceiling
& now, opening marble eyes to another
stone day’s darkness, counting the morning’s iambs
off like an abacus, I rediscover
you, taller, younger, steering
your gaze to the centre
& not finding Earth’s image there, but a tallow
of molten light you are the first to read by.
by Cameron Clark
Editor’s Note: The imagery, metaphors, and personification in this poem are expertly balanced, with each one contributing just enough surprise to the narrative to keep the reader completely engrossed.