Demeter by Emily Ward


She was born between the roots of an oak tree,
cheeks sticky with April mud,
elderberry juice glowing in her hair,
and squirrel fur caught in the corners of her nails.

Even when she was little,
the wheat would sing for her,
fields shifting in the wind and moonlight,
rippling like a pleased cat
under her touch.

The seasons undulated around her,
a vast collection of growth and decay,
thousands of colours singing in her ears,
pouring out the secrets of patience
and a good plow.

She danced, giddy with her freedom,
with the cyclical unpredictable beauty of the world.
Her toes sunk into the clay of earthworms
and she laughed, spinning into
the glittering world of where the land meets the sea,
her tongue sweet with the promise
of a good harvest.

She fell into waterfalls,
across whispering fields of corn,
through the homes of her worshippers,
and she fell in love with her daughter,
a beautiful girl with hair in shades of barley,
a true child of the fields and the seasons —

She learned what it meant to lose something,
to lose the most important part of her life
to something dark and unyielding.
She learned to live with the ache of loss, an ache
that riddled her body and made every day seem
like a dragging nightmare.

She learned about winter.
She learned about snow and ice and how to pack them into walls
around her warm, lifeless skin.
She learned how to walk through the cold and refuse
to feel anything.

But then,
she learned how to bargain,
how to wait.

And when Persephone once again walked the Earth,
Demeter learned that pain is like the seasons,
and that eventually, summer will return.



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