Eleusis by Candyce Byrne

Like Persephone she vanishes
in the April morning, a tangle-haired twelve-year-old
out for a jog.  They find her headphones
in the mailbox where she left them
when she thought only rain threatened.
A week gone.  Dogs and neighbors search in vain.
Like Demeter we rage.

Like Persephone she emerges
from the underworld of Cabrini Green.
(Not our first maid but another, just nine,
on her way home from a friend’s house.)
Her rapist says he dragged her
into his girlfriend’s apartment
and when he was done
threw her into the hall
hoping she was dead.
In place of pomegranate seeds
he filled her mouth with roach spray
to destroy the evidence.  Blinded her.
Crushed her throat under his foot to stop her screams.
Like Demeter we rage.

Demented at Eleusis
we rage, we search, we cry,
Enough!  Bring her home.  It’s time!
Helpless as Demeter, we rage.


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Candyce Byrne was raised by gypsies—no, not really. In a peripatetic military family. That experience convinced her that old beliefs never die but rather bob just below the surface of what we na├»vely call reality. Her two beautiful sons grew up on Childe ballads and local theatre. She lives in a mythical Texas town with her husband of nearly 40 years, a pediatrician, and an aging dire wolf called Al—well, really half border collie/half Labrador retriever, but she's big and black and hairy and the mail lady is terrified of her.
Bay Laurel  /  Volume 1, Issue 1  /  Autumn 2012