Jessica Sticklor

Helen

Of Sparta – they said

Swan eggs hatching nightly fertility

There was a moon out, glowing soft silver on the horizon

What really happened when Zeus raped her mother?

Patted her on the head and told her it was all okay

He was a great god, a powerful god

Should she not be happy?

In place of her dignity he gave a little girl

And she was beautiful

Born to suffer the same fate as her mother

Women’s Studies, you can only study Women’s Studies if you go to Yale

And make friends with the right people

Because they can’t support everyone you know

Just aren’t enough women to go around

One year she loved Paris ran away with that boy the love of her life

Carefully, painstakingly planned it

Started a war for that great power

But he was only a man

She had come from gods what need did she have of them?

It was her beauty, the beauty they said

You can do so much with a woman’s beauty

Drives me crazy makes me sick

They have no idea what kind of crap it is

A woman’s beauty

It cuts quickly, deeply the point of a knife

Why are men so afraid of it?

What kind of weapon fades so quickly?

A waning sun weaker

What kind of weapon garners such hatred?

Shaming until there is no sun and you hide from it

“No, I am not beautiful,” we heard Helen say

Her father locked her up so no one could see her

The price on her head would only grow higher

He knew this

They told us Venus stole her, captured her beauty and gave it away

To the highest bidder

She had no plans she was only a little girl

Who dared to be beautiful

Dared to be

Do we know this woman, does anyone?

She is good because she is beautiful, the devil because she is beautiful

Which is it?

And yet she was not given a name, an identity

Beyond herself

As if that name could ravish a hundred sea fairing vessels

Launching those thousand ships

And call her Helen, only Helen

Of Sparta, great landlocked brutality

Of Sparta and then on shimmering shores, did she meet him eyes downcast

Love him

Of Troy



About

Jessica Sticklor has published poetry, short stories and articles in numerous journals, such as NYU’s Caustic Frolic, The Warwick Review, and Bustle Magazine. Her first novel Betwixt and Between was published by Ig Publishing in 2013 and my second novel, The Beekeeper’s Daughter, an examination of the life of the poet Sylvia Plath comes out in 2019. She has taught Creative Writing and Literature at City College of New York, Queens College, State University of New York at Old Westbury, The Gotham Writer’s Workshop and The New School.
Jessica Sticklor’s Betwixt and Between
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