xxxi. hades’ heart and persephone’s smile

she didn’t have to tell him he could sleep tonight;
he had waved goodbye at the doors of the church
love in his eyes as life and death greeted each other
before the angel of mercy went home

their home felt more like a staycation now,
as the cat pushed her nose against their bags
are you sure you want to go?
but the ends of the earth were written in her already,
there was no need to ask –

the woods that hid the ore seemed warm as they walked
slowly, baggage was only gone from the family tree,
not their shoulders –

the ash tree that stretched before them
dug roots through circles and realms
the promise of something more sliced into its trunk

she needed no scythe when she had a heart
life was as strong as any demon she could summon,
and when they stepped through the door hand in hand,
it had never occurred to Hades that Persephone would have
willingly walked into the underworld, when all she had to do
was ask.

Prompt: Slice
ALTERNATIVE TITLE: and spring had made it to the underworld

xxx. the blessing.

      the last place she wanted to be was the belfry
      the last person she wanted to see was the Father
                and yet both were present

    she hung her legs over the rafters, like she used to do
             the sermon about love and trust
           and she squeezed Vivien’s hand tight
                 her legs swinging beside hers

             where else would a raven be but in the wings –

           she was not angry, incensed, or enraged
                no, this was a promise,
              her blessing, nothing more than laundry to bring in from the storm;

     he didn’t expect her
               though he used to expect everything
mother rid you of that notion, I suppose –

          and shied in disgust when she whispered her lips across
                the raven’s wings with a sly smile
I forgot you were ignorant, too

         his shouting burned into pleading
           while life and death pulled him back and forth
                    they were incorruptible, invincible
                an angel’s gift had set them free –

           a pastor’s vestments had tried to leave behind sins of his bloodied hands
               but she spat all the truths he had buried in a tomb
          of a good man –

you’re lying, he’s gone! you couldn’t know –

oh but Father, I do –

                               the roundabout affair before the cross,
                  the desks of the mothers sullied by her mother
                     photos of a converging of evils
                    left dangling in the fingers of her father’s heart
            and the breaking that ensued after
he had been too gentle for the Babylon woman –
                she could still hear the break in his voice, before he had gone to sleep
I had loved her, once …
                            the father would repent before the daughter of death

            her only regret was her ring catching on his cheek
                   an alcohol bath later to scrub God from her presence
               and they left him in the belfry,
                   where the ravens could decide his fate before the eyes of his deity

                  his soul’s discontent would bear the patriarch’s misery to peace
             as they crossed paths between heaven and hell
                        and she would personally ensure purgatory was ready
                        with a do not enter sign

xxix. she said I do

          the gasp of shock
          turned into the giggles of tears
 and while the raven flew upstairs without a word
 she wondered if she had made a mistake –

I guess it’s meant to be
          her naked form knelt before her
 and she opened the velvet box in her hands
there is no life without death,
 all things have a cycle,
 but we could be forever …?

          there’s an old slogan
          that had never wrung true
 until she had become more human than skeleton
 and she kissed her with all she could say

you better believe we do

Prompt: Double

xxviii. the blessing?

 she waited until she came downstairs
 wrapped in towels and essence of autumn
          and she briefly thought to herself
how far I have come ..

 she stood by the kitchen door
 roses in a bunch, hyacinth on the floor
what are you doing?
this right, I hope.

 and when she dropped to one knee
 the raven dropped the towel in shock
I knew nothing until you came in
          you found me when I hid myself within
          I cannot fathom existence without you in my life
          Vivien, would you be my wife?

Prompt: Gift

xxvii. just a young gun

     okay, perhaps the wind was a little too strong
        but it wouldn’t matter in the end
               as long as she didn’t get too lost

            galoshes up to her knees
              covered in nature up to her calves
        a witch’s work was never done, it seems

                 her marker was barely seen
             by the naked eye, but as she walked by
                       it yelled her name
won’t be using that spell again –

                           she hoped it had been long enough
                    deep enough
                       strong enough
            she wanted nothing less for the one who had kept her
                        alive enough
                           vibrant enough
                    loving enough;

            thunder’s percussion was enough for her heart to bear
         as she found the stones she had entrusted to the earth
                     and her stomach relaxed as her hands pulled up
                the beginning of a new life