Catch the story mid-stream
and hear the pounding doubt
between his temples.

See the pivot, simple
on the balls of his feet.
Eurydice’s gasp of realization

not unlike Lot’s wife
who, upon turning, glimpses
her flaming city one last time

before she goes rigid.
But these are endings, not beginnings,
and the difference between stories

and real life is that real life keeps going.
I scroll the headlines—
1.5 degrees and climbing. Horizons

like the walls of Hades.
When you ask for a story, I know
you mean one about cartoon trains.

The chase and rescue. The close call.
But in these stories you’ll find that nothing
saves Sodom, that Eurydice is swallowed

whole by the earth.
I tidy the kitchen, read another email
urging a call to my representatives.

This isn’t the world I wanted to give you.

Once you said women could not
be rabbis and I wondered at that
trope, three thousand years old and lodged

already in your small bones.
What other stories do you know
that I haven’t told you?

Do you know how long Orpheus walks
to emerge from the underworld?
How lonely he must feel, and helpless,

how close he comes to the daylight?
Do you know that our seas will rise,
that the more stunning the sunset,

the more toxins in the atmosphere?
That, when snow falls, I ache to swallow
the landscape? Maybe you know already

that Orpheus finds his bride,
fights to hold on, step after
step through the earth’s intestines,

ahead, the growing circle of light.
Maybe you know already how it ends.
Though, when I tell you, I’ll describe

a finger of fresh air that finds its way
to his cheek. The quickening
of his pace as he approaches the threshold.

This time, he won’t look back.

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