portion of the artwork for Meridith Gresher's poetry
Helen Learned to Fish from Her Father
Meridith Gresher

Helen’s father was a fisherman.
Every day he went out to water’s edge,
to a boat he did not own, and dragged
his weary body into an elliptic curve
crypting his life upon the waves.
He rowed and fished and dragged his nets
pressing the sea for currency
to keep his family. He threw his life out
to sea. A floating Helen wanted more
than the Aegean, bass, or bright star
fish hung out to dry, slowly. Stinking
star fish, Helen clasped a lace of death
around her neck as a talisman
to conquer the world. She thought
she knew her route from the stars,
her father’s boat being her second home.
A wisp in the waves, Helen had hips to birth
a continent and could because she had
the knack for holding men in the palm.
But men slipped from her like fish
wriggling through her father’s hand knotted nets.
Helen, a rose off the Turkish vine withered
on men’s illusions. She could always hold
men but never their thoughts, so she clasped herself
like a net and threw her past, crypted, out to sea
forming the shape of her father
as she washed upon the sand like rotting stars.