Forrest Evans

Pining for Persephone


Love is a dog from hell
I forgot to stop feeding.
But there are worse evils—
like bored, southern Christians.
You can’t be free and
happy all at the same time.

Hell is largely filled with the
believers, conquerors, and the retired.
“The heat shouldn’t scare
you as much as the critters.”
But no one thinks of the
dew after the fog or
the moist spot after sex
as lovely or poetic.

She is a breed I should have
walked past or shooed with the flies.
Instead, I love a woman, a Persephone,
meant to spend half a life in hell.
Please, save me— I am
choosing to be here and
she no longer is in the south.

Please, someone find my
letter on the radio.
It is not too late to sing about me.
Regardless of the heat,
there are no flames here.
Only the dogs sneak out
for affection and company—
I wonder why.


Every time my heart pains
it rains on a tiny town in
Tennessee. Franklin, I think.
And I am truly sorry to the
people there. Somewhere,
between secretly wanting to make
love to her and forgetting to
feed the cat— I miss her. I know
that doesn’t make sense now.
But to me, the forecast
is terrible. Some days
are mild and dry, and
for others, it storms for days.
And now, I don’t know why.

Every flicker of the heart,
every bloody little flicker.
There is nothing they can do.
Some of it is magic,
and for the rest, it’s dust.
Whether the sun is high or
the rain beats down
on their gardens—
The people of Franklin are
always ready for the worst,
the present or the pleasant.
They, too, are waiting for a
better season of weather or love.


“I have to be protective.”

The safest way to show I miss you
is by buying your favorite ice cream
that I don't care for. You're not here
and this Riesling has instigated
too much. The ice cream is alright,
though it's trivial because
I secretly think I may like it.
It's not what I desire waiting at home.
I thought we'd do that for one another.

The ice cream and guilt,
I eat it with chocolate, confusion
or lonely with long Harryhausen films.
“You have to be more attentive.”
I have to before the ice and broccoli
become too old sitting next to a reminder.
Soon the peas will again recite,
“What is last year's snow to me,
Last year's anything?”
And most of us don't like peas
so it's excusable and cute.

I so achingly want to come home
and leave the world at the door;
as young lovers have laid
plighting troth beneath love’s snow.
Truly, what is last year’s snow to me,
last year’s anything?
I’m holding on to the existence of
this ice cream and always having it.
It always feels nice to have something
of you waiting at home.
No matter how cold and brief;
no matter how much or little it is of you.


She’s talking about saving her soul
and reasons to vote years ago.
I want to watch her rub grease
on her scalp and talk “work bullshit,”
and how if I don’t take out the kitchen
trash it will reflect my choices.
“If you ain’t never had it,
how do you know your dreams
aren’t hallucinations?”

You can’t be happy
or horny all the time.
I truly wanted to ask her to spend
the night for the rest of her life.
But she’s too worried about
what will happen after life.
You can’t talk a southern woman
into taking a Riesling over sugar cane.
Whatever they do after life, she
is more concerned with.
And to a degree, I am too, not at this
moment. I choice all of it
to be colored with her.

The dead will always be more.
They all mean more than the living.
I love a woman dying to be free,
dying to be loved— in her way.
That’s too bad; I’ve sworn off masses
for the unborn and any similar rituals.
My love is alive and not for that magic.

Forrest Evans writes short stories and poems, and works as a librarian in Georgia and Alabama. She recently received her B.A. in English from Fort Valley State University and is a graduate student at The University of Alabama. “Pining for Persephone” is her first publication.