Bill Wolak

When the women surrounded
and attacked him
with rocks and branches,
pitchforks and spades,
rakes and hoes,
knives and hatchets,
the singer, for whom trees
had uprooted themselves
to offer their shade,
merely raised his harp
to protect himself
from their brutal blows.
And so they murdered him
and dismembered his body—
tearing it apart and throwing
all the bloody pieces
into the river Hebrus.
But throughout the slaughter,
his harp played on
without the touch of fingers,
and no matter how they mutilated
the body of Orpheus,
his dead lips sang.

Bill Wolak just published his fourth book of poetry,Warming the Mirror, with The Feral Press. He is currently working on a translation of the Italian poet Annelisa Addolorato with Maria Bennett. He teaches Creative Writing at William Paterson University.