portion of the artwork for Meridith Gresher's poetry
Helen Pities Menelaus
Meridith Gresher

From the first, Menelaus, I meant to tell you I was not your Helen.
From the night you watched me upon the shore with torchlight and sand dusting my hair, I should have told you, you were a blind man.
Your eyes were no good to you. Or me.
Your eyes reached like a beggar to my feet, naked,
dipping into the foam as if they were alms, as if they would free you.
I should have told you then your eyes held death,
but I did not know it was not for us.
One life or two is a war of little worth or worry,
I thought. You had the look of a bridegroom about you,
so I heaped your destruction upon my spine and carried your future
days like a wave cresting and breaking out to sea.
You pulled to my tide, and there was no moon.
If your eyes could have seen, they would have known.
The future has past, my husband.
True, I have taken your pride but I have birthed more
than your children or your war.
You’ve fallen to my feet once again.
I carry a legend from the seed of pain you implanted.
What more could you wish?