Reverse Eurydice

Damaged, he fell through mountains to find her.
Down there, among some thirty-three headstones
And countless unmarked plots: Eurydice.

He climbed back up the cliff. Patted the earth.
Shovelled her out. Pulled the coin from her tongue.
Acceptance. Depression. Deal-making. Rage.

Denied, he denied it all … She awoke
Again all amber in an amber field
Where she’s just been bitten by a trampled

Black snake, the poison draining from her long
Tender calf, back to the sacks of its source.
She’s midway to the meadow she’s now in.

Now she’s home. Now she’s marrying. Now she’s
Meeting him for the first time. ‘Hi, my name
Is Orpheus,’ he says. Then he doesn’t.


Apollo: Season Three

In the short span of a summer I grew half a foot.
My feet grew, too. My mind learned delicious.
The ground leaned against a deciduous forest.
First I called it tree. Then I called it delicious.
Delicious said, ‘Tell Shaggy, Fred, Thelma and Scoob
To come find me; my name is Daphne.’
But I broke Daphne’s arm instead.
It was a cruelty I first tried to blame on nature,
Then on growing up, on falling off, on it being
Just an old myth. But the world, the world would have none of it
And cancelled me after season three.
Say it straight, say it straight, the crickets had chanted.
Change your name, change your name, the arroba had urged.
But the great god of poetry was at a loss for words
And fell back into his habit of speaking in the third person.
He’s always trended more accessible this way.


Photograph by Roberto Guerrini

Kerouac/Ginsberg: The Letters
Philippe Claudel | Interview