around this time last year
i whispered “mark this, the last time.”
and then i moved on,
marched out of Tarturus,
paid the ghosts a drachma.
looked back once, twice,
hastily tripped backwards, carried on,
because each time is always the last time.
feet cross over each other, and even barefoot
can twist tongue over loose laces.
the side of my wrist
stays tied to the past:
reversed rope and Achilles’ heel
straining against the weight of clogged arteries,
and behind me the River Styx sings
(this is a secret but)
Winter Solstice comes early
too frequently –
toes slip, drip, dip into murky water
eyes fear the glow of Hades at the bottom,
all smirk and slander and ominous sneer
but i pray:
up ahead, love at the shore
i glance over my shoulder the same way Orpheus once did,
rope around the wrist tightens,
drags my feet across the soil 8.06 daktyloi backwards
but never (never, never!) all the way back.
because Hades, oh Hades,
blinded by the gloom,
Eurydice is up front, my friend.
(but then again, i should have known,
did we forget that Eurydice and Achilles’ heel gave Orpheus and Achilles life,
but killed them in the end?)