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Crane (after Euripides’ Helen 1495-1511)

by Nicolette D'Angelo

Come, this is the news you will deliver: a boy

            and a girl named ruin 

            are un-stained now      covered now

            feather upon feather

 

don’t mind me, would that 

            I could

 

your alphabet soup of a neck that Zeus spells his name with

            goes to bed with racing clouds (cloud

            being one translation for Helen of Troy’s phantom 

            stunt double ghost but no yes no she did not go to Troy)

 

one can do many things with a neck

like yours: see around corners, devise a way out

            get to the bottom of something, except

            this

 

don’t mind me, my collective daydream

 

on Helen and another winging longneck

animal Yeats wrote I have looked upon those brilliant creatures, 

            and now my heart is sore

and of Leda’s rape: her nape caught in his—  

 

don’t mind me

 

broken and filthy

today I found the stilts of your legs

sticking out like knitting needles 

from the green yarns of riverbank 

            the s of you turned outside itself

 

the beetle-colored leg bands glinting 

            on your wire hanger corpse

            announcing nothing

            but how in a past life you’d been raptured

 

it changes you to be touched like that

            it breaks you

            in         

 

still the bands rattle through the air

            telling the world you’re home

            like tin cans on the getaway car

            of your body

 

oh don’t mind 

Nicolette D'Angelo is a poet and researcher located in Oxford. She also co-convenes a project called ‘The Queer and the Classical.

Image: 

Hilma af Klint

The Swan, No. 05, Group IX/SUW 

1914-1915