Juliet Latham

Persephone in the Parking Lot

I lost my virginity the way one loses
an unwanted gift to the river;
the dull jewel of my childhood falling
indifferently to the vinyl mat
of his father’s sedan, my toes
writing joyful graffiti across the felt roof,
calling his hips to press me deeper
into an underworld
I would return to again and again,
understanding now how seasons
offer gifts not always worth keeping,
that the body can be borrowed for the heart’s
work, that my mother, already weeping
into a dying garden would survive winter
starving no one, and that this boy, pale scalp
pressing half moons to the steamed window
behind me, would eventually release me
to the meadow where my friends
were singing, but first we would
tangle-sit, sweaty on the backseat,
pulling apart the pomegranate, and I
would open my mouth greedily
for each bittersweet seed, the night
autumn air cracking in through
windows barely open.

Juliet Latham lives in West Chester, PA, where she is a full-time corporate trainer for an national energy company. She holds an MA in in creative writing and taught writing for 10 years at Temple University in Philadelphia. Her work has been published in a variety of places, including Boxcar Poetry Review, Pindeldyboz, The Edward Society, BLOOM, and Monkeybicycle.
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