Persephone Kidnaps Him

Persephone Kidnaps Him
Gillian Daniels

It’s not the death god dragging Spring into the Underworld
to take root, hide in the dark,
and then burst forth again. No.

The story is that Death was in his black cloak,
walking gently across the white tundra of the Earth.
He knew only inertia,
wearing years inside his black eyes,
though his own body doesn’t know time or cold,
his black beard is ringed with frost.
He harvests what he can find,
killing things to feed men.

When he finds the garden,
it’s an oasis inside the snow banks,
hot springs surrounded by green shoots,
pink blossoms, blue, red.
All colors that terrify him in their alien richness.

The woman in the garden is quick, strong, full of vitality,
pins him,
is fascinated by him.

“Please do not leave,” she says in his ear,
wrapping him in vines,
chains he has never known
and therefore cannot break.
“Stay with me.”

And all bursts with life, heat, breath, animals.
No one dies,
which is fine
until maggots breed in infected wounds
and those suffering illness cannot pass.

The gods ask her to release her prisoner,
collared in her garden, kissed and well-fed.
“But he has eaten of my pomegranate,” she says.
“He is my husband, now.”

And he is
but only for half the year
when life pushes through the snow
and consumes death,
triumphs over the dark.

Gillian Daniels attended the 2011 Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing Workshop and afterward left Cleveland, OH to move to Boston, MA. Since then, her work has appeared in Apex Magazine, Strange Horizons, and Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, among many others. She also writes reviews for plays, musicals, and operas for The New England Theatre Geek. You can find her at