The Mother as Persephone
Alison Hicks
Call Mama into the hole?
Tear at its grassy sides, and finally go home
to the life that began with that opening?
What's a daughter to do.

She can hear her in her head.
She can come back to that meadow.
It makes no difference.
The hole fills in.

A figure who looks like her mother
sits down to table, eats lustily
from her plate, no longer understanding
the distinction between yours and mine.

When a mother grows crooked, bent,
what can a daughter do, 
with no power to trade,
no gift to rescind from the world?

In the meadow, wildflowers bloom.
She puts her ear to the ground,
her blood will not open it.
Hades spits on her youth, wants nothing of her offerings.

Her mother has eaten the pomegranate.
With each seed she forgets a little more.
Alison Hicks's books include poetry collections Kiss and Falling Dreams, a novella, Love: A Story of Images, and an anthology, Prompted. Awards include the 2011 Philadelphia City Paper Poetry Prize and fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Her work has appeared in Blood Lotus, Caliban, Eclipse, Fifth Wednesday, Gargoyle, The Hollins Critic, The Louisville Review, Pearl, Permafrost, Quiddity, and Whiskey Island, among other journals. She leads community-based writing workshops under the name Greater Philadelphia Wordshop Studio (

more by Alison Hicks:
The Daughter's Origami
Green Line