Psyche & Cupid: A Reimagining

Aimee Nezhukumatathil

This is not the cupid with bare bum and a quiver of arrows flying high with other putti in the foothills of Mt. Olympus. But a story of the man, grown — fierce as an archangel. This is also the story of a woman who learned lip who learned lava who learned love and lagoon who learned to never fear wheat or wide sky.

The parents were told that unless their maiden daughter Psyche was pushed off the crumbly edge of the tallest mountain on their outskirts of the village, the whole town would suffer famine and disease. This was to be the sacrifice to appease Aphrodite, the jealous mother of Cupid. There was no other way. The surrender must be made. The parents wept and rent their clothes with each of Psyche’s small steps.

Dolomite and quartz pebbles slid from the toes of her sandals — the plunge below was so steep, she could not hear where they landed. With one final look back to her parents and sister, her leg lifted and set down again in a place where there was only air. She bit her lip.

So this is what it means to fall:

          a taste of metal and a rush of feathers in her mouth. Her family ran to her,
          a sad effort to change her mind, but it was too late. The last sound
          they heard of Psyche sounded like a sack of heavy fruit
                                                                                       and something like
                                                                                       a wing?

When Psyche woke up she found herself in a magnificent house. Citrus-smell and each heavy wooden door studded in seashell and coins made of mother-of-pearl. A table piled with honey cakes and bowls and bowls of wet berries. Jams and rolls and sweetmeats and plates of cheese chilling over ice. She ate and ate thinking this was to be her last meal and with a heavy heart full of sorrow over missing her family, she at last climbed up the stairs to bed.

                    Just when the moon and rings of a milk planet sat high and seemed to jump a
                                                      a little in the night sky, she felt a rush of wind —

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