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  • A.J. Brown

The Ballad of Orpheus and Eurydice

I was born inside a burning house

I have known flame,

as breath

as air,

the itch of curling inward–

Fire is hunger

it devours

births the ache of starvation,

leaves the hollow of haunting in the stillness of its wake

As a child, I fell in love with ghosts

maybe haunting is my nature

maybe the smell of rot is sweet,


maybe I was addicted

As a child, I dreamt of Orpheus,

who called Eurydice from the underworld

to the light

I never understood why Persephone

craved the surface, or the spring

I ate pomegranate seeds by the fistful,

bared bloody teeth against the changing air

you could call me scar tissue, or bite

or bravery,

but I have never been afraid of burning .

The voice of Orpheus

rends earth to sky,

pulls tide to meet the moon,

Half siren half song

the ocean


it Craves

it is anything but stillness-

it is life

maybe even Spring

clenched fists uncurl,

tired feet go willingly

skin blooms smooth as blister yields to newness

grass grows from scarred mountainside—

tiptoes toward swirling sky

trees knit themselves whole around lightning strikes,

and grow.

a burning girl

pulls herself clean from the waves,

and like Eurydice,

she will follow

don’t look back

don’t look back

don’t look back

Aiden “A.J.” Brown is an LA-based writer and multimedia artist. Originally from Chicago, they received their Master’s degree in the Humanities with a concentration in English Literature in 2020. Their work has been featured in BoneMilk and The Fall of a Sparrow.

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Frank Zahn
Frank Zahn
Dec 23, 2023

In the author's brief bio, who are they, or is this another woke bastardization of the English language?

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