Sometimes you don’t know the face of your lover.
I didn’t, just ghost caresses, phantom servants, a gauzy bed draped in silk where I spilled a single drop of wax.
I waited for a year to see those blond curls, the face between Adonis and Ares, for true love is sweet like flowers but feverish as war, and the skin tan with Grecian sun.
There was a scar on his thigh where it seemed he had poked himself with one of his love arrows, but other than that he was perfect, my Eros.
I died then, and knew the people who left me at the bottom of that cliff were right: I had married Death. Eros and Thanatos are not so different, both winged fates we all encounter in our dwindling candle flames, and wax is funny in that it doesn’t burn, not really. Just a little sting like a needle getting past a thimble.
The wax didn’t awake him. It was my soul leaving my body for just a moment, to join with his and rest at his breast, because mortal forms can’t make love to an immortal, not really.
I love him, I love him, I love him. That is what I whispered to his heart. Still he left me. Men are funny like that. They ignore heroism in women, us baring our truths to him, and afraid of commitment, he fled.
I sorted seeds. I met with Pan in my mourning. I went to the Iron Queen and brought beauty back in a box for his tempestuous mother. Unlike Orpheus, I wove my bright laurels out of a barren place – I knew he would only love me if I was as beautiful as Aphrodite, and though I was the most glorious of women, gods are still vain creatures.
So I applied the sweet hope Persephone kept on her vanity to my brow, and I died a second time, this time in Eros’ arms.
No god raised me from the dead. That’s impossible. Look what happened to Eurydice. Raising mortals from Hades is ill-advised. Eros is brilliant, and his arrows sorrowsweet, but even necromancy is beyond his power, no matter how much like Thanatos he is, and I had married the God of Little Deaths.
I raised myself up. I sang to my stepsisters and the parents that had abandoned me, all dead now, for my travails took ages.
It was a goddess who gave me breath again – sweet Kore, who herself was abducted, and who I regaled with my tale. We are kindred in that we both married the most dangerous of gods, and had our girlhood stolen too soon – by every sly look from uncles, by every groping of fathers, by every time a king took our adolescent forms on his lap and ran a beer-stinking hand through our curls.
We are spoils of war to them. I did not want to be just another girl that lost her heart to someone powerful, some fading rose kept in a crystal jar, only to be watered occasionally.
I taught Eros of true love so that no woman would have to suffer at Cupid’s hands like me again. I did everything for a man so ready to cast me aside like yesterday’s broken amphora.
That’s why I have butterfly wings, not a birds: because in the calyx of my divinity, I stewed in ambrosia a third death, Psyche Triple-Born, and I am more powerful than all the gods combined.
Wax doesn’t burn – it lingers at the back of your mind.
Love doesn’t hurt – only craving for a man unfaithful.
Women aren’t raised from death – they claw back alone.
And though Olympus is full of stars, my bed is very cold.