Persephone Enters the Underworld

by | May 14, 2024 | Awareness Day, ME/CFS, Patient Voice

Persephone Enters the Underworld/Thanksgiving Table

Grieve for me Mother because I am gone.
I was not stolen or taken.
I did not fall,
Truthfully I cannot tell you how I got within the winding corridors of death.
But here I am.

No, Mother I will not be at your Thanksgiving dinner.
The chair where I had tettered and twittered as a new bird will go empty.
The garden where I had bloomed and danced will go unwatered.
The halls where I had sung will echo with only footfalls.
I will not be there.
She is gone.
Grieve for me Mother.
It was not quick.
Not a snapping or scream.
No sudden stop.
No one can blame you for not noticing
The short panting and falling behind turned into a full halt.
There is so much to do,
So much work and wind,

I didn’t notice either
When my hands grew pale, limp.
Then one day when you rushed out to greet the sun I remained in bed.
Rigor mortas.
No, Sister you cannot convince me to return.
It does not matter how much Mother grieves.
It is not a choice.
And though it is a rare word from me,
Now it bursts forth from not just my mouth
But my legs, my hands, my very breath:
No No No!
There is nothing left that could be yes.
And Sister,
I will not send you my apparation,
do not dare ask to summon it.
I want my soul here with me.
Here where it is dark enough to open my eyes.

And yet,
Do you not think I grieve?
That was my body I left behind.
How I loved those hands,
holding the fresh earth, flowers, friends.
Oh the sounds!
The whispers and gossip between birds and leaves,
The bumping and humming of bodies in a kitchen.
The moon quiet in the sky,
The sun loud overhead.
And too, all the silent things I was nesting within me with wild hopes to grow.
The things I wanted for myself.
They are dead too.
All dead.
No, my grief is a crowning wildfire,
An endless flood.
It makes no sense.
I flee to higher ground.

And yet,
I cannot tell you the relief I feel
To be buried away.
In the darkness I can open my eyes.
My vision never blurry.
My head never too dizzy,
Already on the pillow.
The food here,
all the nutrients my body craves.
To experience the peace of
To rest in peace.
No, Mother I will not be at your thanksgiving table.
It is not my season.
But do grieve for me.
And someday perhaps we will have a new emotion.
Yes, now I see
even Spring awaits the freshly composted.
How can I become fertile ground?
And this place,
I have heard the stories.
Erebus is but a womb,
Nyx, a watchful mother.
I am in the shadows seeking a new form.

This poem was submitted as part of the Reflections of ME/CFS and FM and Long COVID Awareness Day Virtual Event on May 14th, 2024.