by Joyce Ker
Art by Cynthia Shi
Issue: Solivagant (Winter 2018)
Abrotanum invited starry-eyed Orpheus
into her Temple of Love.
“I will ruin him,” she cackled,
teeth curled into a vicious smile.
Orpheus enraptured audiences,
fingers caressed the curve of his lyre
gliding through rippling strings
washes of vibrating melodies winding through the air
cradling lonely ears and battered hearts.
Broken Grecians on streets
extended their arms to him
He gazed into their eyes
reeking of shattered hope
as he placed coins in their cupped hands
gently folding their weathered fingers.
Beneath an autumn red moon
he watched the ballet of blazing embers
twirling, leaping, blinking.
His eyes twinkled, teeth shone bright
The world chanted his name.
Starry-eyed Orpheus opened a letter
written in vermilion ink
Orpheus, you are my lover.
“Lies,” he murmured.
Nine days had passed
a wooden box arrived
Inside, a sword.
The letter winked.
Orpheus stared back,
lips parted in thrilled shock
“No!” he roared, “Preposterous!”
Ghastly pall shrouded his soul
swallowed his thoughts
He tossed the box into flames.
“His lyre is enchanted so he cannot misplay notes!
You cannot trust him! He is a disgrace!”
Townspeople roared her wildfire lies
How dare he blatantly deny his affair!
Light from the stars faded, waltzing away,
taunts rising to a gale of hysteria.
Orpheus reached out in despair
grasping onto morbid night sky
ashen clouds swirled into jet black
his soul writhing through a thin trail of molten stars
Through allegations and litigations
the world bellowed his name
His words engulfed by the townspeople’s shouts
Chains ripped his face,
lashing his throbbing skin
Iron collars clung to ankles and wrists,
veins pulsing against scorching metal
Guilty, guilty, guilty.
Orpheus is the father of Abrotanum’s son!
To the Fields of Punishment!
Strangled remnants of his lyre
speckled with stardust
lay sprawled and broken
like shattered stained glass.