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December 21, 2017 | Poetry

Three Poems

Amanda Hayes

Three Poems photo

Persephone Browses Pornhub.com

I grew up in grass but here
everything is bladeless,

hair thinned past feathers,
sheets slick enough to grease a boar.

Bareness like this exists only
in galleries. Rubens’ Judgement of Paris,

Botticelli’s Venus, birthed anew.
I’ve thought about calling her up

to ask how she shaves it, but truth is
hair’s the only part of me

that isn’t bony, perched
on the constant edge of girlhood.

If my laptop gets a virus
will the repairman laugh at me?

I don’t think I could handle
another inquisition. Everyone going

on & on about custom, counting the seeds
of some damned piece of fruit.


Persephone Notices Different Things Now

In the kitchen there are fruit flies,
hot little bloodspots canting over the tomatoes,
running their feelers across the pears.
Mother asks what I’ve been eating.
I say, The Usual, nick a rind of melon
with unpracticed hands. There’s little fruit
in the Underworld. He brought me flowers
so stunted I laughed, & for a moment it felt
astral, like a scene from the sappy movies
I’d sneak on the DVR when Mother was asleep.
While corn sprouts & mosquitos chomp
at their bits, the Styx groans with nettles.
It’s there or here: crushing dill for weak perfume,
picking carcasses from day-old gloss.



Atlas bears the weight
of the world but she bears
one pillar—stiff brow
of posture-practiced youth,
Kentucky’s finest debutante.
She stands for the ant-eyed
people, the ones with loud shirts
& cans of sparked flint.
She stands for the cans
as they flash, as the sun bristles
& birds turn overhead.
As her sisters fall she stands
more than her corner.
She stands tarmac & gravel.
Stands as they pat the walls
with plaster, prick holes
between her nose & throat.
But at night, propping the roof
with some found relic,
she steals away. Pokes her feet
in salt coves, runs seawater
over her legs. She takes care
not to linger too long. She takes care
to do the things a body must—
fold laundry, gut fish,
other small burdens.


image: Amanda Hayes