we rise just after the heat of day has pressed life flat

our deliberations inflating the indrawn breath of evening

a cool murmur across the skies

robes of scarlet, pale amethyst, robust plum

we don against the encroaching night,

realm of mystery and allusion


we gather darkness into ourselves

Pluton’s immeasurable depths

descending to death’s doors,

we lead blind followers seeking

chanting Persephone’s hymn


hesitant torchlight, shying shadows

we persuade by not asking

show by not revealing

let them wander the mind’s labyrinth

to the mysteries of the pomegranate


from the hard white seed’s center

fleshed in translucent ruby

to the enveloping leathery flesh

that protects and hides

thickened by a thousand rituals

scored and scarred with secret signs


we pour the blood

of the pomegranate, the sweet bitter taste

that afterlife always brings

the soft forgetfulness that envelopes

know it’s not yet Elysium


then we disrobe, bare our skins

carved with the marks

stained with the juice

blessed with the kisses of Persephone’s realm


it is here we rest, become jewels of the dark lord’s land

laced with crystals, the frozen tears of the fates

metal chrysalis of our life’s desires

spun and buried and cocooned

held in wait, yet this too is not Elysium


then we ascend newborn

from the Stygian dark

the wealth beyond measure

the doorways between the realms

sacred and silent

persuasion is in our return



Colleen Anderson is a three-time Prix Aurora Award finalist, been longlisted for a Stoker and the Rhysling awards, as well as a freelance editor. New or forthcoming works are in Clockwork Canada, Futuristica Vol 2, Nameless, The Beauty of Death, The Future Fire and others. Her chapbook collection of poetry, Ancient Tales, Grand Deaths and Past Lives is available from Kelp Queen Press. Colleen has co-edited Playground of Lost Toys (Aurora nominated) and Tesseracts 17. She has been a judge for the Rannu competition and part of the HWA Stoker jury, and attends various local and international writing conventions. Currently she is working on an alternate history dark fiction novel and a poetry collection.

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