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The Search by Rita Dove


Blown apart by loss, she let herself go--
wandered the neighborhood hatless, breasts
swinging under a ratty sweater, crusted
mascara blackening her gaze. It was a shame,
the wives whispered, to carry on so.
To them, wearing foam curlers arraigned
like piglets to market was almost debonair,
but an uncombed head?--not to be trusted.
The men watched more closely, tantalized
by so much indifference. Winter came early and still
she frequented the path by the river until
one with murmurous eyes pulled her down to size.
Sniffed Mrs. Franklin, ruling matron, to the rest:
Serves her right, the old mare.



In this poem we see Demeter’s grief reflected in this women’s. She does not give a thought to her appearance, only her grief. As she wanders the men watch her and are enticed, just as Poseidon is drawn to the grief stricken Demeter as she wanders the earth searching for her daughter.

    Haley Atkinson