What’s not so well known, and rarely told,
is how Orpheus hesitated when his beloved
Eurydice walked as a shadow behind
and, as you know, cast his eye back to see
his dearest depart back to Hades, though—
and this is where it gets interesting—
he knew she had yet to make it across
the threshold to reclaim her role as boss.
During their walk toward the upper-world
he wondered if she was worth all the fuss.
Having been busy so long on the lyre
writing weepies that got to the Gods
had made his fame an inevitability.
What would her return do to his infamy?
Might the film deal fall through were he to cease
being the sad widower, the poet-genius?
And then he thought of her, the way she woke,
her morning breath and unmade face,
the clothes scattered throughout their home,
the tube of toothpaste incorrectly squeezed,
the ghastly things she made in the kitchen—
So he thought maybe it might be best
to leave her to eternal rest.
Their good times were had. Now he had to think
of how he’d live out the remainder of his days
dodging Maenads, Zeus’s fury, beastly assassins
bent on keeping him quiet, but the Muses
took care of it—they kept him around
so that he might continue to sing his laments
and charm the next generation of poets.
Vincent Francone’s work has appeared in Spectrum, Rhino, New City, The Oklahoma Review, and other web and print journals. He won 1st place in the 2009 Illinois Emerging Writers Competition and his memoir, Like a Dog, was published in 2015. Visit his website www.vincentfrancone.