Frederic Leighton - Orfeo ed Euridice 1864
by Christina Woś Donnelly

She can no longer make him out
through the stinging mist,
as he hands over her valise. She ventures,
“Will I never see you again?”
His laugh barks, bites.
The days of reassurance are passed.
He mumbles something about hunger,
averts his face, as if, suddenly,
for just a moment, he’d rendered her visible.
Turns from her, swallows hard, rushes away.

She does not permit herself to watch
or weep, does not dare to know
if he looked back, was even tempted.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Recurring themes in my poetry are women vis-à-vis power and the politics of personal relationships. Whether “Orpheus and Eurydice at the Airport,” “Hera in the Kitchen,” or “Cassandra in Captivity,” the women of my poems inspired by mythology confront the confounding dilemma of power imbalance in the most intimate of relationships. Some of these poems follow the original closely, some hinge on only one or two points of contact. Each myth I found deeply resonant, sometimes disturbingly so, with its counterparts today.

IMAGE: “Orpheus and Eurydice” by Frederic Leighton (1864).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Christina Woś Donnelly co-founded and co-edited the ejournal, Not Just Air (Sundress Publications). She is also the author of two chapbooks, Venus Afflicted and The Largely Unexpurgated History of Scheherazade (Moon in Blue Water Productions).  Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Persimmon Tree, Pearl, Nimrod International Journal, Earth’s Daughters, Lilliput Review, Moondance, Stirring, and other journals, as well as ten anthologies to date ranging from Susan B. & Me (Big Kids Publishing) to Off the Cuffs: poetry by and about the police (Soft Skull Press). She has been featured widely at Western New York, Baltimore, and Washington-metro venues including the Library of Congress. The Niagara River flows past her windows. Learn more at Poets & Writers Directory.