8 10 2009

Menelaus & Helen

The servant girl, in a hurry to break the news gasps

as she races along the path, nearly falling on a tree root:


The queen has gone, sir.


Later, she lies in Menelau’s bed (after he talks, weeps,

lays his head in a willing lap) curled small as a comma


against his back, a hook that catches on something recalled:

the flicker of Helen’s skirt seen from a window, at night,


a man’s hand, dark against white cloth, on her hip.


Situated in the pause between one thing

and the next. The particulars of absence:


Gone, gone, gone, gone. Menelaus wakes, bitterly

gazing at a girl who is not Helen. No other woman


could be Helen, with her golden sheen, loose hair,

limbs like water. How could she take a lover,


leave? She belonged to him, paid in full (oxen and horses,

not to mention slaves) to her father. He’d been the one

to win her. Gone, gone, gone, gone, gone, gone, gone.

Comma’s sharp point sinks into the place between words,


deep in that flesh; nothing moves forward without pain.


AUTHOR: Anne Simpson

POSTED: By Charles Ryder on Le Blogué.





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