Demeter's Prayer

Demeter's Prayer

When Persephone began skipping meals
And decorating her stretch marks with blood flowers,
Demeter took her to a home for girls with eating disorders.

When Lil P was forced to surrender her flaming torch at the door,
Mama D was forced to write letters.

This morning, she writes, I followed the fog down a trail
of acacia trees to the Cliffs of Moher.
I met a giddy Saint Patrick where the sea met the cliff who offered me a guitar riff
and a round of ice-cold Guinness.
“’Scuse me but I’m ‘igh coming off from
the campfire hour.” He laughs into water.
He heard the Queen’s speech from her perch
at Windsor Castle. It changed him, it converted him, and now
somehow he’s a believer. “She’s always been a monarch
but today she’s a leader.
God save the Queen!”

He reminds me of a war I’ve never been in.

God save the health care workers,
God save the recovering and the newly infected
God save the black communities unfairly affected
God save the April rain and the May flowers,
God save the face masks and the ventilators and the frozen food trucks repurposed into morgues for storing the bodies of the departed,
God save the economy and the airlines spending time
praying to the almighty dollar,
God save the furloughed workers counting every dime and the unemployed
standing in line to fill out forms for the workforce commission.

God save your cat from attacking my cat.
God save your brother in the garage painting cartoons from a childhood you can never return to, even when you get well again.

God save your therapist who writes a lot. (When I reply, she never answers.)
God save your dietician who never writes at all.

God save your grandmother who still shops at Kroger
But only during the high-at-risk hour
God save this woman who raises her fist to the tangerine man
Behind the curtain of lies who disguises his greed as concern
For Americans to get back on their feet and live the American dream again,
But this time at a 6-foot distance and without any resistance to the
Inevitability of his November recrowning.
God save your grandmother as she tweets and screams and prays to the son,
the father, and the unholy spirit
Just this once, for a suicide bomber.

God save your grandfather who brings flowers to the grave of his son
Before the storms turn the earth to mud and the weeds
Cradle the skeletal remains of an uncle you will never meet.

God save the 30 million people sick like you
But removed from the news because
your disease is not in fashion,
and God save the path I take each day through fog
To find a way to bring you home
To a place where sickness, death, and even the voices inside your head
Telling you to hurt yourself
Can’t touch you.

--Erin Passons

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