Catherynne M. Valente (5 May 1979 / Seattle, Washington)
Past the Rivers
I sat as if a statue,
and Hades brushed my hair
with a comb of iron and asphodel.
I sat as if an icon,
and Demeter brushed my hair
with a comb of crocus and water.
On either side of my candled body,
they held out my hair like wings,
and ran their fingers through it,
oars through black and separate rivers.
And Hades' hand was on my knee, saying:
You are safe here,
where we have brought you.
And Demeter's arms were close on mine, saying:
We only meant the dark
to be a quiet pool
where we can whisper
and remain unheard.
The sky is so bright, and so brazen.
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