A Prodigal daughter never returns home
She may enter its walls after her respite,
but is always a guest
to the ghost of her mother’s daughter
The mother does not draw near
As Demeter would not kiss the
Pomegranate-stained hands of Persephone
For her lips would bear the same color as if
She too ate the fruit
Had she been a son,
Her father would wrap his mantle around her
and cut up the soft belly of a calf
not yet scarred and webbed by sinew,
for now the house sits safely on his shoulders.
A Prodigal daughter’s lot, however,
is not her mother’s swollen wheat fields
or orchards filled with fruits that glisten like jewels
but barren, cold earth vanquished by famine
and starved trees eaten by pestilence
left behind by her absent hand.
Even if Demeter does not give absolution
for Persephone’s scarlet sin,
She is torn between the tomb of the upper world
and her trousseau in the underworld.
Thus, a winter of separation will give way
to a spring of boundless homecomings.