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I knew he’d come. Someone like him
always comes to the doors of the young
& beautiful & not-too-independent.
Muses―in short supply
since after the apple’s sour becomes apparent―
a new sweeter variety hangs imaginatively golden.

He hadn’t bit the worm yet, in our days, so I knew
he’d be looking. I knew he’d assume
without knowledge of that bitter bite,
assume there wasn’t
a worm under my skin
& come to the dark
to take back what he knew he needed.

His love. It makes a better story,
and believe me,
its all about the story.
People like Orpheus.
And worms?
And my heart?
A half-place; half-there; a kind of dirty joke.

So I waited, packed my worm,
my pack of heart-shaped lemon-sours.

When he turned to look, there
at the edge of my freedom—
would you remember me
if he’d just kept going?—
but he did look, knowing
this was the right turn
in his story.

He turned, and I pricked the thumb of Darkness.
When He let go to stick it in his mouth, I was gone,
& out, onto the pallid plain. Of course the lord of the dead
didn’t admit to losing me.
Who’d face such pride-loss and admit to an escaped inmate?

And him, once-husband? He never realized I’d turned?
Made it past the door and disappeared into the world?
Don’t know really.
But I do know he never wrote that part of it.
He had his story and he stuck by it.


Carol Shillibeer lives on the west coast of Canada. Her publication list is at

© 2014, Carol Shillibeer

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