The earth hums to me to-day in the sun, like a woman at her spinning, some ballad of the ancient time in a forgotten tongue.
- Rabindranath Tagore
Pandora still tastes faintly of earth. When he presses his fingers against her skin, he tries to remember why he hated her. (The times he watched her with downcast eyes, in his brother's house.) But of course, he knows, his memory is perfect, his mind, never impaired. Death, and sickness, misfortune, everything wrong that could (and would) happen to humanity - all could be laid at her door.
Her fingers thread through his hair, she tuts quietly over the tangles.
"Brother, you have not been keeping well," she says, and he looks up to see her smile. In the dark, her lips are deep red, the color of spilled blood, ancient. Enduring.
Not long since that son of Zeus (doom loping behind him like a faithful dog) cut him down, Prometheus has wandered to the edges of the world and back again. He finds her at the end of his journey. Where his brother is, what has become of him, she will not tell and he will not ask. Instead, they now journey together, silent for the most part. There is too much to say, and yet, not enough to speak.
At night, they find themselves beside a river, so wide that even Prometheus cannot see to the other side. The water is sweet and the current is swift. Prometheus' curiosity stirs. He builds a great fire, roaring and bright. She sits on the sand, picking stones from her sandals and singing soft snatches of songs, the words of which he does not know. She watches him, as he watches her.
Oh, she is still beautiful, she still has every grace.
She uses a thin white cloth, cotton, and not silk to cover her hair. Now, a mischievous gust of wind snatches at it, and the cloth slips from her hair, and settles around her neck. The fire burns low, and he tears it (without thinking) when he kisses her.
She tastes like earth, and rainfall, of death, and life. She is wily, and will not be held. Or held down. She is maddening, unreachable even when when he is within her. She scratches the place where the eagle long worried his flesh, and he cries out in pleasure, and in pain.
Foresight, forethought, she takes it all. There is no thought in his head that she has not left a mark on.
"Thief," she says, between kisses.
"My curse," he groans and thinks, my love.
There is a distant low roll of thunder. The wind picks up, and whips Pandora's shroud away, over the roiling waters.