Erika Eckart

Issue 2: Prose Poetry

Persephone

I knew, of course, ever since my baby emerged from my womb a girl this was coming. And when I watched her thin out, her doughy body pulled taught, I dreaded the danger that came with those new angular limbs and contoured torso. My baby’s body would be wrested from me, supplicated, wrung out, used, marked, and I knew because it had happened to me: not abducted for 6 months a year, but the involuntary grasp and pull, the forcible spread and pushing through and the laying afterwards, docile and cured of his mania, some monster/god putting his finger to my soft cheek, apologetic now and insisting it’s better this way, doesn’t every woman want a brute? Wasn’t it your fault really for being so beautiful? My insides rubbed raw and bleeding, my lower appendages numb, and sure I could try to run away, but these are gods I am dealing with and squirming only makes it worse because like any predator they enjoy the fight. Now, below my feet my girl, the flesh I made with mine and that I love better than my own, is down there being spent, used against her will. It is one thing when they do it to you, it’s another when they come for your babies. The only reasonable response is to kill everything, to wrench the chlorophyll from the leaves, to knowingly starve creatures who seem nice enough. It is the only way I can hope to save my girl from this shared fate, and how dare anything live, flourish, be verdant, dance on the grave of my baby? My other brother, the one who didn’t take her, but who knew, condoned, allowed, and regularly takes gods and mortals for his pleasure, sometimes in costume, tries to plead with me, calm down, be reasonable, calls me emotional, tells me how this is bad press because the starving are less obedient servants, says it is an affliction of my sex, this tendency to hysterics–when he and all like him are the real affliction. He stands before me, absurd, small, with the power only to destroy and not create, saying let’s make a deal, I’m sure we can work out some kind of arrangement, think about it from his perspective. Starve, I scream, beg in the streets, you will not eat at my table again until my baby is returned to me.

Erika Eckart is a mom, writer and high school English teacher, who lives and works just outside Chicago. She mostly write poems that blur the line between poetry and prose. Her prose poems have appeared in Double Room, Ghost Ocean, Quarter After Eight, Quick Fiction, Nano Fiction and Quiditty, among many others. Her chapbook of prose poems, the tyranny of heirlooms, was released by Sundress Publications in 2018.

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