Tobias Seamon
Eurydice Reflects upon the Depths

Hell is the absence
of memory. Every reeking
dawn, coughed up
from the lung of the Pit

has no clue what’s in store.
Yesterday’s pig-iron
tongs, Hades’ poker-faced
rape, they are experienced anew

every time the eyelid pall
lifts. Then you’re never
sure where you are or why
you’re there in the first place

just as a grimy devil leads
you by the crotch towards the rack.
And it’s always fresh, being
stretched, broken, bastinadoed,

sleeping it off on bent tacks.
There are no familiar
faces, no compatriots, no one
to hang the blame on. You

just assume it’s your fault
to begin with. No one ever tells
you anything anyway, and Hell
becomes a suspension, a dread

while you sprain your back
on stiff chairs, wondering who’ll turn
the hourglass. Then rumors
abound, that someone is coming

and even the jackals look
nervous. But the charnel gossip
never materializes, and you continue
obeying orders, to hurry up and wait.

Orpheus Ascending

I knew full well
she was following. The backward
glances of asps along
Hell’s mirrored corridor told me
she’d kept pace.

The infernal mirrors made a monster
of my form: bulbous hourglass
phantom, a squint-eyed
swine, all in silence
twisted by asps

at my feet. Step after step, more
mirrors. I elongated into
a slack-faced worm squirming
palely through the haze, and silent
flies flew from my mouth.

This is where Hell corrupted
me, Eurydice following
a phantom, a hog, serpents and
maggots, and I realized
she’d have followed anyone

to escape Hell.
So I turned
the corner of my eye, enough
to reveal that it was her
lover that failed her

not some anonymous
beast. And after
I looked back, I never looked
back again. Instead
I followed

my own song of ascension
upwards into the upper
spheres of sound, where corrupt
notes like black flies began
buzzing from my tongue.