Persephone in Grey

by Shweta Narayan

The thing about the Underworld is it's boring.
Sure there's pain, fear,
stress — knowing the work
back home lies fallow —
but it's dull. I've been here
a year now in this haze
shin-deep in chalk dust. I might bring color,
wet taste (I almost remember)
if I cut myself.  But with what?

And if I could find the right seeds this time
in the white fruit breaking powdery,
medicinal under my hand, if I could dry-swallow
(anything) enough, I might make it home
for one bright day, and my mother

might know me again.

Shweta Narayan says:

I've lived in India, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, California, and, lately, in the Underworld of the chronically ill.

My poetry lurks in places like Strange Horizons, Mythic Delirium, and Jabberwocky, and my stories in The Mammoth book of Steampunk, Steam Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories, and Expanded Horizons. I can be found on the web at

In a poetry cage-match between Shakespeare and Sappho... Well, first, I would pay to watch someone explain to them both what a cage match was! But Sappho would win hands down, because Shakespeare would be far more intimidated by Greek than Sappho would by English.

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