There’s Always a Viper at the Wedding Feast

by Elizabeth J. Coleman


Only the footsteps, light
as rain, tell him she’s there.
Keep dreaming, Orpheus,
you’re almost at the top.


She longs more for herself than him,
misses her skin’s softness,
how clouds cling to sky.

I have time to think down here,
she whispers. Can you hear me?
Can you understand? I would like a life-
time with you, but also one without.


Don’t feel shame, Orpheus.  We all dream
at night of our dead.  And in the morning
when we turn around, they’re gone