a dome left whole at Hiroshima,
the high-water mark in New Orleans.
These are what wrench the heart.
Monuments meant to mourn
for all instead tend
to distract the mindís eye.
They planted a garden for my son
but itís the scar on my belly that aches.
When Demeter reached Eleusis
the women in charge of the mysteries
plied her with food and drink
but she was still sick with grief
for her lost daughter, Persephone,
and the earth stayed cold and dark.
The women wanted Spring
to bud the almonds, dust
the earth green, wake
lust in their chilly limbs.
If only they could make her
take a bite, a little wine.
But her tears poured down
and the women grew tired
of consoling. One called Baubo
had an inspiration: she lifted her skirt
and out of the grieving goddess
came a laugh like a donkeyís bray.
Thatís all we know of Baubo;
she made Demeter break her fast
by baring her fanny. Why
it was funny is not in the story:
just a woman raising her skirt,
a laughing goddess and Spring rekindled.
Goddess on the Half Shell
Scallop, comb, and cunt: one Greek word
served for the shell whose open halves
revealed the goddess of love, Aphrodite
kneeling between its pin-striped valves,
the comb whose teeth the scored
shell mimicked, and the soft elastic
flesh. On the shellís fringe
a row of eyes glittered like a necklace
for a princess or the goddess grown inside
the closed wings of the pecten jacobeus.
Queen of the beach, Andipatros called her,
and of the bedroomís salt exchange.
She led ships safely to shore
and hearts to shipwreck on her shell's edge.
"Don't break my spirit!" cried Sappho
knowing she had the power.