The ornate gold box perches on a rock.
You kneel before it, hand just lifting the lid,
chin lifted to peer into the slit
that hints of sparkling things. Who
could resist opening such a gift?
Dark trunks of branchless trees, boulders,
a dusky stream with a lace-splashed
waterfall surround you.
The hem of your delicate gown of ebony and mahogany,
is stitched in gold—Athena taught you weaving skills,
one of your gifts from all the gods.
The only glow in these dark woods
comes from the carved chest and your pale skin--
Epimetheus made you of finest clay,
the kind that yields porcelain.
You could not know how costly the contents,
retribution for Prometheus’ forbidden gift of fire
to humans, all evils and plagues, war, toil.
I recognize the look on your upturned face, Pandora,
the moment just before the world-altering mist
escaped and sent you reeling in shock,
until you closed the lid trapping that one thing inside.
Anticipating good, sometimes we are crushed,
perplexed by outcomes we caused or were innocent of,
called on to assemble our own gifts--courage,
patience, reason, and often self-forgiveness.
After all this, your daughter would survive the coming
flood and renew the drowned world
by casting stones on the earth, generations
who must face those horrors and misfortunes,
must fold them in among the ordinary hours, the joys.
Karen McAferty Morris
Karen McAferty Morris loves poetry for its ability to lift both the heart and mind to discoveries, connections and, ultimately, comfort. She is Poetry Editor of the National League of American Pen Women’s magazine The Pen Woman. Her chapbook “Elemental” was published in April 2018, followed by “Confluence” in May 2020. Morris' poetry, written in both free verse and forms, has been recognized for its "appeal to the senses, the intellect and the imagination." She lives in the Florida panhandle.
The Ekphrastic Review
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