The Marriage of Orpheus

The Marriage of Orpheus


Something brushed my cheek with damp–
a leaf, its little valley slick with run-off

after rain. One last drop shook loose
and struck a spider web, which shuddered

but held on to this grieving world
so a butterfly–a mourning cloak?–

could uncoil its watch-spring of a tongue
in the time it took a limousine to stretch

down the thin twig of street, almost to my door.
A long albino snake gone straight,

tied with a big white bow–O pet,
you’re not mine. You belong a few doors down–

see, here comes a man in gold morning coat,
carrying pale pink roses like a lute.

He leaned inside the low dark cave
of a car to kiss someone I never saw,

who straightened his pale pink cravat.
Orpheus, would love turn back while it can?

Around the corner a nurse in white
stood at an open door, lifting her long white arm

gently to bar the way of an old woman
bundled in hat and coat, though it was August.

Dear reader,

I hope you enjoyed the article you just read. It’s just one of the many deeply reported and boundary-pushing stories we publish every day at The Nation. In a time of continued erosion of our fundamental rights and urgent global struggles for peace, independent journalism is now more vital than ever.

As a Nation reader, you are likely an engaged progressive who is passionate about bold ideas. I know I can count on you to help sustain our mission-driven journalism.

This month, we’re kicking off an ambitious Summer Fundraising Campaign with the goal of raising $15,000. With your support, we can continue to produce the hard-hitting journalism you rely on to cut through the noise of conservative, corporate media. Please, donate today.

A better world is out there—and we need your support to reach it.


Katrina vanden Heuvel
Editorial Director and Publisher, The Nation

Ad Policy