Persephone, by Teal Van Dyck

From this home, I meet the magic which changes everything. . . .

. . . I hone my will, wit, and wisdom to flow more fully through the complex systems I co-create.  My life makes small cycles in my brick house in the railroad woods.  My queer polyamorous femme fam fills my kitchen, at the autumn freaquinox we’re clever as ever and bring in the harvest from all over town.  Basil from the Town Hall planters; heirloom tomatoes just ripe before the late blight; kale, collards, and bull’s blood beet greens from the queer cooperative farm.  Radishes outside the door, glory of corn, purple dragon beans going strong, elongating from June to September.  The abundance and ease of our agrarian autumn with red maples and red apples is tempered by onset of desperation.  Winter threatens to brings me to my knees, knock the breath right out of me.  We’ll meet again! Soon the root cellar and the long haul.  Soon the peeling olympics, squashes and the stocks simmering down.  We’ll dream of these days in the kitchen surrounded by every vegetable.  For now, we taste both the sunlit psychedelic grandeur of trees’ transforming colors, and the whip crack of night getting serious about getting colder.

Ardor’ is a letter to a long distance lover who has left the region and the season.  In celebration and raw longing, I appeal to Artemis for perspicacity.  ‘Europa’ tells a story about leather, passion, transmasculinity and transformation.  Both poems carry the liminal spirit of autumn and the bared throat of the hunt.  The third poem, ‘Persephone’, is a reflection on Mabon and the underworld, and the way the unconscious and visceral permeates the domestic mundane.  In my domesticity, as in the rural consciousness, there is wildness and uncertainty flooding up through pastoral harmony.  I live in the both/and, day and night, rough and tender.  The fire in my hearth is the fire in my heart.  From my kitchen, I hear the fisher cat out back eating rabbit after rabbit.  Each one screams.  I keep making dinner.


for dinner, proof
that the Goddess exists
and is making
abundant good.
Goddess in the egg
made of eggs.
In the prison
made of liquid
prisons, Goddess.
Flesh asterisk;
amniotic bulbs
taste of crimson
bees, permanent
stains.  You yawn
to hear your heart
beat, she kneads
the smallest muscle
in your shoulder –
when pomegranates
taste Goddess, and
the pull to descend
again.  Just when
he floats from
pillow to volcano,
just when she is
sleepwalking into
the bureau, the fire
alarm short circuits.
You both sit up,
cold, hitting your
heads on the ceiling.

Note:an early version of this poem was published in 2008 in The Reader, a Hampshire College literary magazine. 

Teal Van Dyck

crafts poems and stories about his research in the fields of queer time travel and trans survival magic.  Teal enjoys taking care of his chosen family, his feline daughter, and his boots.  He creates multimedia performance work with his primary partner.  He can be found snacking, dishing, and sharpening his claws on conifers in the hills of Western Massachusetts.

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