Friday, January 1, 2016


EROS and Psyche

      I beheld your features with my soul -Ovid, Heroides, 16-18

Up against a thin wall, the skin split
a skin hard in shell and worn subterranean
a pressed skin too terribly hard, a tight dress
in dressed-down flesh, remote and
recessed, a peri-flesh in paradise.

Once a home till wings are clipped
once a world, unbottled, bared

she still lives the place, broad-breasted
and in her being (in really being nowhere)
as if sex, like flesh, undressed
as if sex, like paint, were flesh
the first of the first lived
like the best in us, the worst and slid

the deep fissure in a way of being
out of chaos slide.

First came the chasm and then beauty
broad-breasted, ourea snowy
something dark and remote in recess
a great release, living force and passion
wet and willed to no purpose wingéd flew
and EROS, too, dissolver of flesh, withdrew.

Zero in EROS
disturb beyond reason
something living cupped like wet silver
living underneath
out of reach and rhyme, something
a little out of time

in composition, sex
so sublime the shapeless killing
in it, kills with love; what kills
splitting arms and legs a-part
a deep fissure, a way of being (submerged).

How it loosens! And, oh, how,
when nothing sees something and wonders
in draperies gilded red with eyes
the treasure lives low the vowel
in genos and the gene.

It brings to order its own order
a chaos genet, a living softness 
in dressed up flesh―down inside;
the best in us, the worst
painfully aware of the illness we are

the roundness of it

worn like a shell.

Zero In by stephanie pope
republished courtesy of

©2006 Zero In stephaniepope mythopoetry, first publication


1.  "I beheld your features with my soul."  for more of this passage see  [27] 

2. Full the full text of Ovid Heroides see the above link.