Persephone Unhinged

Lazy topsoil flushed away, too thin to hold seed. Rain keeps time, pounding tender nubs who don’t know their knobby tulip heads should turn red or yellow by now. Even earthworms can’t hold on.

I whisper up to the lawn Don’t do it again. Green is so mundane. Why not fuchsia this year, or blue, a blend like family photos left too long, the woman and her teen age daughter, neither smiling.

Laundry sleeps on my basement floor absorbing surface water like a diaper. Dust over chalky cinderblocks. The wash machine shakes, unbalanced. I’ve been tricked into finding lower ground, a basement dweller on earth, baskets unwound, endless rinse and spin.

When rain lets up, the sky dries off-white like an unbleached sheet. Pale light drives me to the garden. Imagine sucking the lilac blossom, that subtle taste of grape. I spot prepubescent buds, but I know what early plucking does.

Years from now the story of my leaving will be told, the piled laundry, unpaid bills, dirty dishes soaking. How I hit the five and dime for lipsticks, painted my nails a frosted pink, bronzed my hair, plucked a barren lilac twig to put behind my ear.

And when a wren called out from a dripping line, they’ll say, I remembered my first lover’s hands, cracked near his thumbs. When the sun finally showed I was gone, someone saying I took

Main Street south to 41 to Milwaukee to browse Monet’s watery museum flowers, how a vapor trail hit a clip of gold, showing me the way to leave, showing me the way.