Lauren Kawecki

University of California, Riverside


Do you ever stop?
And feel the world turn around you?
Plant yourself for a minute.
Listen to your heart pound.
There’s an emotion stuck in your throat
And you’re not sure whether to laugh or cry
You’re not even sure why

I stand thigh deep in the lake.
The waves crash against me, pulling me out.
I am solid for the first time in months.
Not transparent.
Not small.
Just There.
I am no longer a ghost.

A laugh comes up my throat and through my lips.
It doesn’t sound like mine I think.
I must look insane.
That laugh rises through my stomach
And falls from my mind,
Meeting somewhere in my mouth.
It makes my head light.
I am insane.
And for the first time in months,
It is good.

The waves hit me again.
They do not go through me.
I feel the sand beneath my feet.
The water cannot claim me.
For the first time in months, nothing can call me its own
I take another step forward.
I am Persephone.
I control what ground is under my feet.
I am dead.
Yet here I stand today, alive.
Winter is gone.

Blood rushes to every part of my body,
Reviving what had begun to decay.
I hear it pounding in my ears,
Another rhythm adding to this world of cycles
Sweat clings to my shoulders and back.
It is proof to me.
Proof that for the first time in months,
I am alive.


I am Hades
I am death and life and all the things you fear and all the things you love
And I am alive

The world can strip me of all
Strip the blood from veins
Strip the air from my lungs
The life from my mind
The joy from my body
And the skin from my form
Leaving only an empty corpse

But I am back
And I am screaming
I want blood and it won’t be mine
I will rip the world from those who took it from me
Took my Persephone
Leaving only a ghost of an underworld
Simply a cage for a king
But I am alive

Despite everything
Despite all that you did
And despite all that you didn’t
Despite all your turned backs and half smiles and unhelpful words
I am alive

I will not stop until life fills my corpse
til the point that I can feel the air in my lungs once more
Until I can remember who I was before you killed me
Before you took me
Smuggled my bones but not my body
Leaving a shell in my seat
Offering small glances as smiles and screams

So follow me down
I am Hades
And I am alive

The Dichotomy of Light

The hope it sows,
How bright it glows,
Streaming from its cave

The hope it sows,
How deep it goes
And how quick it does decay

You planted my joys
And you took my sorrows
And I swore one day I could fly

You swallowed my joys
And you stole my sorrows
And I swore one day it was lies

You followed me down
And you stole my crown
And I knew I couldn’t be king

You followed me down
And you shook the ground
And you forbade my voice to sing

Just as the caged bird
Doth echo evermore
Hear me quaking in your words
I was merely blood on your sword

Not merely in lust, not merely in hunger
But both in darkened love
Did you grasp my bleeding heart
And squash that shallow dove

If this is my last utterance,
If I live only now in dreams,
When my pitiful echo stops,
Know it was for you that I screamed

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