In Hades



Susan Okie

I’ve gone under.
My thoughts dart,
red and blue fish,
through columns of light.
A purple spotted octopus
peers from a crevice.
Above, the dried-blood
hull of a ship. A jellyfish
balloons past, transparent
bodies in its body, all
but invisible. It is not safe
to speak. I’ll be
sliced open, crimson
globes plucked out.

On the ward, all colors
bleed to white or gray.
I can’t call up
my mother’s face.
My mind is a basket
just emptied.

In a dream I see a man,
vast and dark. He pins
my arms, wrestles me
to the ground. I watch myself
fall. Call out, I cry.

My eyes are bandaged.
One is torn inside, it cannot
stand the light.
The gauze absorbs my tears.

Someone unwraps them.
A detective with a moustache
shows me photos.
Men’s faces swim past.
I recall no face, only the thud
of my head knocking
against an iron door.