To My Daughter


Demeter to Persephone

The piercing ice of winter never ends
when you’re away. Each day is starless night;
the rotted fruit of black-limbed trees portends
despair. Without you, I allow no light.

Again I need to bear you forth, this time
from earth’s womb, not from mine. The golden bough
I’ll gladly pay eyeless Charon to find
you, buried in your husband’s arms of snow.

I once paid more, in blood and tears, when first
I pushed you from your warm and salty sea,
my gentle somersaulting child, now cursed,
forced into Hell’s embrace, to needing me

to birth the light, you who outshines the day.
Come to your mother’s arms; I’ll lead the way.


Ginny Kaczmarek is an MFA candidate at the University of New Orleans. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The Maple Leaf Rag III, Ellipsis, Transfer, and The River: The Natchez Poetry Anthology.

First published in Measure, Volume 2 (2007)