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Letting Go
by Caroline Johnson

It starts with flowery hippy shirts from the 1970s.
Burnt incense in a room with blue checkered wall paper.
A pungent, musty odor. A secret attic. The Brady Bunch.
The Rolling Stones, Ted Nugent, and Carly Simon.

Flowers swell everywhere. Demeter loves her daughter,
Persephone, who is daydreaming until she plucks a narcissus.
The earth caves and Hades takes the young girl to Hell.

Next come peacock feathers, colorful candle wax dripping
down empty wine bottles. Groovy boyfriends, college,
a sorority. Career success, marriage and motherhood.
A daughter who grows up fast, who now must leave.

Demeter tries to free her daughter. She pours stones
and flowers on Athena's altar, turns those stones into bones,
but it's too late. Persephone has eaten 7 pomegranate seeds.

Say farewell to a daughter who loves the color purple, who has
long beautiful hair, who wants to be a nurse. Say good-bye
to her own Persephone who has over 1,000 Facebook friends.

Demeter mourns the loss of Persephone by freezing the earth
with her grief. Barren, rocky tears cover the once fertile soil
of childhood—the creation of autumn and winter seasons.

And what is letting go, after all? Is it not the shaking of a tree,
so that dogwood blossoms create a cataract of splendid seeds?
Is it not a new yoga position where one sees differently, at peace?

Do not despair, Demeter! The change of seasons always comes.
How can a girl tell heaven from hell if she has not sampled both?
Flowers bloom in spring and summer to celebrate the reunion of mother
and daughter. Hades claims her for the other half—fall and winter.

Blossoms burst forth in spring and summer to celebrate the reunion
when Persephone returns each year with gifts: the bluest peacock
feathers, the spiciest incense, even fresh pomegranates.


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