One of the Maenads Speaks to the Singing Head of Orpheus as It Floats Downriver
How can I explain what we have done to you?
We heard in your voice the mad longing to be broken
from the body’s reins, to return to your beloved
and put your lips to the bite marks on her ankle.
For too long you held to the blue-dark loss
that laid beside you. Didn’t you know we were always
meant to lose everything? Don’t mourn. After love,
there is more love. I have seen it. One sigh held
by another, held by another. I kept your head in my lap
while the others took your body from you, their teeth
on your collar bones, fingernails plucking chords
from your throat. Death and madness can be the same
kind of deliverance. Flies are laying eggs in the wreckage
of your neck, but you keep singing. The rain lilies you pass
gather your melodies, so I uproot them. Nightingales
open their beaks to swallow your notes, and I stone them.
Love is a song you sing in search of deeper water.
The body, you leave behind. The music travels with you.