Ellen in Egyptlisten

I had to change my name and cut my hair.
The golden curlicues that spun and dropped
down to the floor, I didn't mind. The sounds
I miss. Husky H. Honeyed. Heady.
Sexy. I could hear it underneath
their need, inaudible as breathing. Lost
like ephithets: daughter of Zeus, the twin
sister of Clytemnestra. The memories
gone too, no more crowded marketplace,
Cly at my side, swaying our hips in time,
our smiles indication of the giggles
pressing to come out. She noticed long
before I did: the avid looks from men
in armor, bloodied, who only spoke of war.
I was still singing to myself, in time
to salsa rhythms beating through my body.
The suitors came. Stern, serious, stiff.
And I was ready for a dance, a whirl
around the floor, skirts spinning out, to show
my ankles off. They chose a man for me
whose steps were full of grace, whose legs were lean.
Instead, he gave up dancing when we wed.
I did not, my skirts were still slit high,
my legs and arms remembered all the moves
even years later, when Paris came,
the soundless H unvoiced under his gasps
for air. In Troy, while battle raged, they banned
all kinds of fun. Achilles promised me
in Egypt we could dance and so I left
with him. Moonlit Nile nights, cats
underfoot, until I lay him down,
fine feet still, after one last dip.

by Mary Alexandra Agner

Mary Alexandra Agner writes of dead women, telescopes, and secrets. She makes her home outside Boston. She can be found online at www.pantoum.org

Photo by Stephen Lapides Copyright 2007


Faces feign
An inner pain
When wanting all
They lack.
Sometimes we give
To them, then live
They won't give back.

by Sally Cook

Sally Cook lives a reclusive country life with her husband, political cartoonist Bob Fisk, and cats. She is both painter and poet. She has been the recipient of several scholarships and awards. Cook keeps a sharp eye out for the psychological portrait in both disciplines. An e-book of her poetry can be seen at the web site of The New Formalist and her review of Joseph S. Salemi's book Masquerade appears in the current issue of The University Bookman.


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