Erena Johnson

Orpheus and Eurydice

On the way home, vast kingdoms’ silences.
dim light from the lakes below. A deal made
with bare hands and no fabric.
steep stairs, in grief and in wild hope

suddenly, a madness –
Forgetful, yielding in his will, looked back
At his own Eurydice
Darkness falls on my swimming eyes


In a dawn, in a circle. To wake alone among the trees

(Intention, skirting,

under rocks,

leafy arrays,            Elsewhere.)

Aloof and uncomsumed.

Recollections bleed between the coils in a brain
into the heart

and pumped throughout –

Eurydice!                                         Eurydice!
cries fall the distance to the underworld, tail off among the grazing

these hands, these helpless hands! to stand, to run, to fall, as she did, to turn with
every electrical im pulse in case –

standing sweating electrons racing
not/acceptable              unable/to accept            un/acceptable               un/understandable
un/surpassable              un/able to overcome                    im/pass/ible

Does death negate a pact made.

Stretching wills repudiated in an outage at the source. Intertwined like shoelaces
lovers hope to become the one string.

un/able to rest               rest<less

In a moment of rest there is a choice. To shout raw in ruptures. Panting seizure


Noon, under hot circles

Slipping from her side the companion in action and reaction

What was briefly whole.
through to the soft tissue.
A mind imploring,

The ink now soaking
A body imploding
noticing even as it slows


A murmur. whispering shades of unconscious. believing new formations. floating
inside a bone bowl. hearing him call

in surprise                        in question                        in fear                 in dispossession

Eurydice, in the grass, in a cheerless state.
Eyes retreated                skirt hiked                        lungs shuddering groans
Was she worthless as Orpheus lifted her to his shoulders, a loose bag of declining

In steps, in markers of time and pace, he ran.

Under his hands she slipped, heavy.

Boat touches against the black sands. Inside a cathedral cave,
dimness from a distance

Charon will wait for her to step on


Laying under shades
               under sorrows
                              passing through
and dwelling in the lungs                          with ev                 ery suffor          ing breath

Tendrils occupy the bronchioles

restricting mindpath to circuits

Do you have any idea of the intimacy, to accept a moment given, not depending on
narrative to bless the actions?

Each one, each breath. The little hairs on her forearms. The dimples in the slight of
his back.

Humility, lying with his phallus upturned, gently watching her question

The lightness, the absolution.

Dealing in movements that send ripples out to the shores.

Gage the courage to re collect

For this, in part, Orpheus wept.


Era of questions.

Calls out. Calls with no leading needs.

One star in the black fabric.

Birds peat and repeat.

Is love to forge an unconscious wand
between each, oscillating with their migration,
with their alteration?

To live to love another or should I learn to live alone



By Erena Johnson

is a recent graduate of the University of Auckland, where she gained a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Bachelor of Music in Jazz.