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Eurydice (Inversion)

At her gunmetal taste he remembered his own death some days before, and he followed her out of the city past the train yards, under a white sky, light glancing off her rippling skirt, deep blue silk he had shredded from her waist as she flung herself backward like a bridge across blind air, and even with her salted ribcage beneath his tongue he knew her no more than music heard at a distance, no more than sunrise. His rage tore along his spine and ran out the soles of his feet scoring the dust. Helpless he stalked behind her body cupped like a sail against the wind, her scent of flowers and blood curling at back of his throat as buildings fell away, chicory, queen anne’s lace, trees ascendant, scrubby lots and telephone wires, a dog wildly barking. The road curved through a young wood gripped with brambles, and white petals skittered after him as he emerged, tripped on a child’s bicycle, fetched up among a flock of stone geese and she receded and receded and he wondered when she would reach the horizon and then would she finally look back so he could grasp her throat and kiss her again but he became confused and saw her turning and turning not back to him but like a dancer there on the horizon line seared silver across the land as he fell.


Why does your face?
(After Gilgamesh, Tablet X)

When she was first born my child’s face
was that of one who had undergone a long journey.

In the warm room, her lips moved whispering
secrets I heard but did not understand until

she slept, and the air around her small hands
untied my knotted heart. I tore my hair

and wept at the secrets I did not understand
until she slept and I saw the breath flutter

in her throat, and the green veins drawn
along her wrists. I sang to her, Why does your face

look like that of one who has made a long
journey? I was a bow strung tight

and slowly I stretched to cradle the arrow’s
willing length. Now it has sprung from me

and I tear my hair and weep that it will meet
its mark in a green field I cannot know. Until

my child slept I did not understand why her face
looked as if she had endured a long journey

until I watched her mouth reveal her breath
and the flicker of her eyes beneath their lids.


Ganymede, Largest Satellite of Jupiter, Travels
In a 1:2:4 Orbital Resonance With Europa and Io

—and his dogs’ barking faded, the last glimpse

of his comrades’ gaping mouths, and his weight
curled in the eagle’s claw. The heft of wing

beats. His muscles slackened, the bird peered
down at him, chuckled with delight at the pearls
of his earlobes, his tapered fingers still wound
round a useless bow. Now, hand round the wine,

cup-bearer they sang out, crashing golden
goblets across the sky.
                                     For the first billion years,
he tossed vessels into heaps of shattered clay, drowned
out Zeus’s whispers with his own magnetosphere.
By the time the spyglass found him he had lapsed
into silence, turned his back to the fond red eye

secreted his heat within a liquid iron core.  


Lea Marshall is an MFA candidate in creative writing at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she is also Assistant Chair/Producer in the Department of Dance & Choreography. Her work is forthcoming in Hayden’s Ferry Review, and has appeared on Anderbo.com, NPR’s Morning Edition, in the web-zine Delicate Monster, 64 Magazine, No Shame Theater, The Hook, Eve In Hand, and Sacred Bearings: A Journal About Surviving, published by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. She recently received the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of English Award for Graduate Poetry, as well as the Thomas B. Gay Award for Graduate Poetry from the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband and two-year-old daughter.