The Birth of Persephone (I/III)

It is 1335 BCE. The sun is bright and virile in the sky.

Demeter is giving birth. She is at the very end of her labor. Atropos and Clotho are her midwives. There is a pushing and a slapping and a wailing. There’s a snip-snip-snip of scissors. There’s a placenta. Suddenly Demeter is very tired, gentle, and warm.

“It’s a girl!” Atropos says, cheerfully.

Demeter takes the child in her arms. She looks at Persephone’s nose. She looks at Persephone’s neck. She looks at Persephone’s belly button. “Will she be marvelous,” asks Demeter, “and beautiful, and live her life with joy?”

“Of course,” says Atropos.

“And she’ll live in Olympus in a house next to mine?”

“She’ll never be allowed in Olympus,” Atropos says. “She’s going to destroy the world one day, and Zeus disdains ground zero.”

“Oh,” says Demeter.

Baby Persephone kicks her feet and coos.

“But she has toes!” says Demeter.

“Yes,” says Clotho. “Yes, she does.”

It’s a very special moment, and through all the years of Persephone’s life, Demeter does not forget.

There are ten of them, ten little toes, and each of them is perfect.