Salt

henry 7. reneau, jr


          A translucent bride.  Her passage to freedom haunted by the inevitable.  Eurydice,
with her muted, purple bouquet of hope, setting off with Orpheus, a dark,
                                                                                                                hollow-eyed figure,
who guides the bride to the edge of the canvas, to the edge of the Underworld. 
              We know Orpheus's terror, traveled to the Underworld, not to rescue, but to save.
                                    This menaces Orpheus.   Where he is, 
           the present tense for flight.
           For a moment we glimpse Eurydice's terror, her doubt a clock that cannot tell time.
                         She is in some sense already gone, transitory flesh, at the edge of almost,
                                                                                   as Orpheus turns back to look at her.
          The gossamer shroud framing her arms & breasts.   Her moment of sudden dispatch,
the dart of pain stitching her eyes closed,
             before her imminent dissolution—like Lot’s nameless wife.   Her body
columned to crystalline salt,
& her swift legs rooted to the ground—please, remember me as I was.
                                                                          She is, disconsolate ephemera.   Eurydice,

as Derrida defines specter, a thing in flight that surpasses the senses, swept over
by the immolation of a single glance,  
                                                          just before she is erased.
Her body misting away,
                                cast off, like salt flung over a shoulder, to conjure the illusion of hope.

 

Note: In Greek mythology, Eurydice is the wife of Orpheus. When she died, Orpheus pursued her to Hades. His lyre-playing won her release, but his failure to observe conditions imposed resulted in her being irrevocably lost. In contrast, Lot’s nameless wife has become a faceless footnote to history, except as an example of desperate disobedience, or willfulness, an apt female comparison to Orpheus in some ways. Both could not let go.



henry 7. reneau, jr. writes words in fire to wake the world ablaze: free verse that breaks a rule every day, illuminated by his affinity for disobedience—a phoenix-red & gold immolation that blazes from his heart, like a chambered bullet exploding through cause to implement effect. He is the author of the poetry collection, freedomland blues (Transcendent Zero Press) and the e-chapbook, physiography of the fittest (Kind of a Hurricane Press), now available from their respective publishers. Additionally, he has self-published a chapbook entitled 13hirteen Levels of Resistance, and is currently working on a book of connected short stories. His work was nominated for the Pushcart Prize by LAROLA.

hreneau@ucdavis.edu