Scott Nicolay & Lesley Wheeler


She’s become Demeter, the labile mother, who
used to be the nubile goddess of spring. As
proof that her grains are overripe: old man Hades,
    hot for her daughter,
whose skirts he peeks up through the transparent Earth.
Too tongue-tied to talk to her, he fakes quakes, rides
out pumping his pimped hydraulics, won’t say a
    word all the way down.
Wanker. Worse than bloody Jack Nicholson,
he is, always trying to redesign some
sweet young thing as Queen of the Dead. So now, what?
    Pick up the torch, start
down dank catacombs, shuck and jive between the
shades. Old Hades watches on closed-circuit, sees
those buttocks need no botox. He sighs, thinks black
    spandex becomes her
but then he would, vampire-god, committed to
pomegranate-flavored arm-candy but
happy to start the day with mama's Special
    K. Knock knock, she snarls:
that’s when old Pluto the one-headed dog first
begins to twig to the truth: Kora makes a
better goth than he ever did: that Bauhaus
    tat should have tipped him,
damn it, and here comes bride-mother Isis, with scissors,
not the usual sewing-kit.  She pants like an
aging goddess with a shrineful of clay pigs. Furious,
    corn-fed, and scornèd,
brandishing her paired bared blades, she approaches;
Osiris shrinks. Should’ve hid those he thinks. He’s
been cut off before, but this time the harvest
    can begin at home,
every sheeny scrap of obsidian reflecting that
dame with the scythe. Her panza shakes, her knife-arm
wobbles the way flesh will when it meets with too many
    mirrors. She would tell
him why, how he hurt her, but he already
knows. They’ve played this game for how many kalpas
now? Love always lies bleeding in the sand. And
    really, she likes it,
going to hell invigorates her.  How better
to inhabit her own geography, feel each
thirsty whisker perk like a stalk of wheat, charge
    silt plains with ozone?
Yama's got her boxed, but she accumulates
orgone. Revved up, she jumps out. Let’s rumba,
she says, Begin the beguine! Daylight come and     
    me wanna go home.
Overhead, a midwinter spring is blossoming,
nature’s hot-flash. Even beetles that fatten on
death pause, twiddle their antennae, hum oldies.
            Sure is fine up here,
peep the mise-en-scene? She’s been mise-en-abîme . . .
in the abîme, Harrowing, but now she’ll be
leaving. She blows Hell a kiss, parts her lips, springs
    out headfirst . . . for now.