portion of the artwork for Meridith Gresher's poetry
Helen of Troy Repeats the Past
Meridith Gresher

I am not well. The past slides under my fingers
like sand grit from past millennia. I cannot clean
myself from history. I cannot wipe the mirror
from my face or break the sheet of glass into words.
I could cut and rearrange Homer with the proper oasis.
I miss my children. Sons are nothing but seeds
of memory to take across the Aegean on a ship
built for misery. One kind word can easily become
violence. I did not see patterns in the waves.
I did not understand that Paris was a journey
backward in time toward Menelaus’s blows that changed
my body into palest shades of midnight blue
and deepest shades of a turning morning star
ringed orange. I have crushed and been crushed.
The diamond studded starfish clasped about my
neck is night. I carry a photo of my sons and
seeds of Alcinious to begin the past again. I
plant my feet on a new shore. America.