A Long-Dried Pomegranate Rind

Like Persephone
I ate freely of the pomegranate
The pomegranate in the form of a vow.
A vow I took to love and obey.

Only when the blood ran down
My eighteen year old chin,
Red as the juice of Hades’ fruit,
Only then did it matter more than the blood
That ran down the inside of my thighs.
Only then did I know I had to leave
The Underground.
But not for a mere six months, No.
I had to leave for good. I had to stop
The bleeding pomegranate,
Stop the blonde beast that
Cajoled me into saying, I do.

The beast did not appear
At the courthouse.
Only I had to take the stand
To testify against a crime
For which there was no trial,
Not even an arrest.

Only I had to expose myself
Only I had to pay the lawyers,
The court fees.
The beast got to stay home. Safe.
Protected. He did not even have to
Pack up his clothes and move.

I trembled on the stand,
Quietly answered the lawyer’s question:
Then what did he do?
Then he . . .

I watched myself from
Across the courtroom
I hovered there,
And knew that the pomegranate juice
Had stained Persephone’s face forever.

The judge spoke,
Divorce granted. The
Papers will be served.

I was free. Free.
I could hobble home
Pack up my clothes and
Find another place to live.

The swelling between my legs
Would subside. My lips would heal.
Once I paid the lawyers
There would be no reminders
Save for the long, red slit
Inside my mouth
That would slowly become
What it is today:
A hard, pale line
Like a long-dried pomegranate rind.