Orpheus Reconsidered

It had been some time, as you'll remember,
since he'd seen her.

And time which, for the living, flashes
for the dead drags.

Down there among the joyless shades
he took no food, but she

being educated in an epic hunger
and knowledge of the bone

had long since grown quite ravenous,
her sweet eyes savage flames

and her heart a cauldron
of scoured emptiness

in which his richest wildest lyrics
rang too thin, too tame

so when he'd struck the bargain
we all know, and turned

to start the long climb back
still piping his tune,

before they'd gone halfway
she filled with scorn

since he would not regard her
there behind him

seething with resentments
no simple lyric could appease:

If he could not love

her cheeks of ash,
her lips of carrion,

her heart half-wed now
to an elder darkness,

she would not belong to a boy
who kept his word to demons

rather than to his own heart.
She turned before he turned

to find her gone. And she fed
on the promises Death kept.