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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,

intoxicating

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

Aches,

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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