Eurydice: a triptych

By | 1 May 2019

1. Recipe

one woman
preferably young
and pretty enough to sell papers
with a name that sticks
in your mind
and the back of your throat

rape her
kill her
lay her out on a field
as warning to all the other women
young and not so young
pretty or otherwise
with names that
you have never cared to know

Tell them:
don’t walk alone after dark
don’t walk alone
look just don’t walk at all
you’re women
where do you possibly have to go
that’s so important

After a week, or two:
clear off the flowers
smooth over the pitch
no one wants to see that forever
and men have other sports to play

2. Museum Piece

At night, walk with your house-key thrust
between your middle and third fingers.
Do not wear headphones
or lose yourself in thought
or laugh too loud.
Do not smile.
Text your friend your mother your sister
your cat
when you leave the place
when you pass the library
when you cross the road
and the other road
and that one too.
Text every five minutes every two minutes
every thirty seconds
until you are home.
If the litany is broken
at least they will know where
to look for your body.

you can fold yourself in half
and half again and then once more
pressed neat as the handkerchief
that belonged to your grandmother
that you keep in the back of your bedside drawer

you can tuck yourself between
the pages of some half-read novel
like you did with that photo once
that you have never found again
or much thought about really.

Such things remain
as museum pieces

Remember when we used to see them
in public everywhere
every day
like they didn’t even know
how fragile they were
how vulnerable
how valuable
like they didn’t even care
who saw them
or what was thought

those girls those women
we used to see them
faces turned to the sun
to the moon

walking away from us
into the light

3. Eurydice

Maybe it was a joke
the last good thought
that crossed your mind that night
before what happened
The best joke you never got to tell
but it made you grin
that shiny new joke
the thought of delivering it
on stage one night
before what happened

Maybe it was just the shitty icing
on a shitty cake of a day
in the shittiest ever banquet of a week
and you were already half in tears
about paying rent
and how your cheap shoes hurt
and how tired and worn and cold you were already
at the age of twenty-two
before what happened

Maybe you were simply
making a shopping list
trying to remember the lyrics of a song
planning to feed your cat
wondering who owned those footsteps
how close they were
how fast you could run on slippery grass
before what happened

But I hope it was the joke.
And yes I’m hoping that
more for my sake than yours
Because I need it
this small hope too thin
to weave any kind of blanket from

I mean
did you even own a cat?

Eurydice, I don’t know what to do anymore
with this dense and sour rage
that swills and swells with each fresh slight
I have vomited up so much of the stuff
thick and stubborn as clay
I pummel it with fists that will not uncurl
mould and shape a form
from terror and for comfort both

one day I will know what to call it
one day I will write that name
your name her name
all her names
on a ricepaper scroll the size and shape of its tongue
one day I will send it slouching forth
on its urgent wrathful path
not once looking back
at you at me at any of us

and then they will see
all of them
what rough beast it is we have wrought

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