And saw his own death happen. But as a mending this time, a cleaning. They shoved his limbs together, Flailed off all the blood, Then dimmed into the distance Like the dots of an ellipsis. The shattered boulders rebounded, Rolled back up their ruts. The sea’s sea-lathered sun Succumbed in the wrong direction. Soon the joy of Life Returned Returned his strange thin smile But it sunk into a frown And then the Saddest Song of All. This is how it started. He was back where he’d parted.
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. Shoveled 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 Snake, the poison draining from her soft long Tender calf back to the sacks of its source. She’s midway to the meadow she’s in now. 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.
Used by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux. All rights reserved. “Reverse Eurydice” and “Reverse Orpheus” from THE GROUND by Rowan Richard Phillips. Copyright © 2012 by Rowan Ricardo Phillips.
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