After Hades, Always Persephone

–for my step-mother

Sometimes, I thought my father ruined her

like some force, wind or water, cutting

creases, ravines, into summer fields.

One moment, she laughed, lanky, two-pieced

in blue on the Mexican border,

tequila sunrise, poolside, held high,

like life cashed her in a winner.


Another, she guided the blind man

upstream to river’s secret cavern.

Half drunk on cocktails of disappointment

and duty, she changed his shitty sheets,

raged to him box scores, fed him pieces

of her impoverished heart. And I tallied

the income of his indifference.


Then for fifteen years, she bloomed again,

a crocus in winter, wisdom poured

from sober widowhood, grandchildren

blessed in pilgrimage to her temple.

Life claimed her and refused to let go.

After crows strip the corn and buzzards

glisten bone, what remains is courage.


from Sulphur River Literary Review and As Long As We Need (Black Buzzard Press)

For my thoughts on writing this poem, follow this link.

This entry was posted in Poetry on by .

About lymangrant

Lyman Grant is a professor of creative writing and humanities at Austin Community College. He has work at ACC since 1978. He is the author or editor of two textbooks, two books relating to Texas literature, three volumes and a chapbook of poetry. Recently he traveled the United States for a year in a 34-foot RV 5th wheel trailer with his wife and two younger sons.