Persephone’s Underworld Quarantine

Art by Yoni Perla

Writing by Angie Shen

spring allergies mark the end
of her basement-dwelling days

seasonal depression gone
(the fluorescent grief still shines
in the dark, beneath black light)

she greets the neighbors outside—
her red hair now faded brown—
she’ll bleed red under the sink
after purchasing box dye

orders take-out but forgets
when her stomach was last full
during winter, she had starved

sick of pomegranate seeds.
trypophobia does not
help entice her to the fruit

she never met Arachne
but she thinks spider egg sacs
evoke similar disgust

a pomegranate diet
is hardly nutrient rich.

a single seed keeps her for a month
six seeds for half a year
a full year, year and a half
she can’t even greet her mother
without staying six feet six seeds apart

she never met Arachne
but she still talks to her online,
gardening tips in return
for child-rearing advice.
she learns some spider mothers
let their kids eat them alive

she plants dried seeds into the earth,
dirt covering her pale hands,
wondering how many will survive
wondering if she survived