Caitlin Neely

Merope, After

Ruddy constellations
of fish in the market,
figs sliced open like a brain.
The bee-eater nymph
barters with a shopkeeper,
his prayers tucked
under the bowls of spices.
Outside, she circles
the white villas of Chios,
her teeth bright, olives
wedged between her fingers,
the sea just beyond the hills.
She remembers her husband’s
uncoined tongue, his body
persistent, boulder-heavy:
how he begged her
to come with him to Hades.
Her star-faced sisters
always pitying her—

The hills quiet,
blackberries smothering her palms.
She does not speak of him,
does not speak of anyone.

Caitlin Neely received her MFA from the University of Virginia. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in West Branch, Passages North, DIAGRAM, Sixth Finch, Devil's Lake and elsewhere. She is the founder of The MFA Years and the editor for Reservoir Journal.