Helen in Situ


The citadel is still.

Empty. I wait inside


my lover

in our locked room.


There are days,

like today, when he


comes for me

and it looks as if


he’s cried,

and I am glad.


His curls smell


of horses and orpiment.



snaps her whip

of hair behind her


like a grey colt—

she’s always hovering


while we fuck.


It hurts

to touch


every part of him,

and I like that. I bite 


the skin above

my nails until I bleed.


Now, he’s picking up

his lyre;


his crude music

once was as good


a place as Lethe

to disappear. Imagine


my husband’s anger.

I watched his ships


arrive like black flies

on a corpse


of shoreline.

Desire has no loyalty,


and I am many 

things besides a wife— 


he will learn this too.