Nobody ever helped her carry in the groceries. The suitors paraded
gifts of wealth and trophies of war that said,
Marry me, said, I will buy your love with glossy cars and split
knuckles. I will start a war for you.
But they never picked up milk
or brought her breakfast in bed.
And Menelaus, who didn’t really want her back, fought them all anyway,
just to prove that she was his. She walked out
to the apartment balcony and tossed
pennies over the railing. One for every street burned in the name of her
legs, lips, hands, and hips. Achilles was still driving
laps with Hector tied to the bumper like wedding cans.
She’d almost been his sister in-law.
Her cocktail dress made it hard to breathe and the heels dug deep lines into her ankles.
She would trade every ounce of her charm for a few shots
of good whiskey. Paris had left her weeks ago, with just a note
taped to the bathroom mirror.
Should’ve picked Athena.
She’d been sold for a compliment, uprooted and thrust into a war.
She was asking for it, just look at her, the people whispered.
She’s a siren with matches for fingertips,
she burned our city down with her magic song.
But no, if she could command men, she would tell them to leave her.
Tell them to fill their pockets full of the gold and treasures they had pilfered, killed for
and to march
into the Aegean til the bubbles stopped wrinkling the surface.
Then, she would put on her bathrobe, cut off her golden hair, and pay
the bills with the engagement rings left in the velveteen boxes on her dresser.
SAMANTHA MACKERTICH is a senior at Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick, MA and is a creative writing major. She has been published in the Polyphony Literature Journal, attended the Breadloaf Writing Conference in Vermont, and was a two-time finalist for the Helen Creeley Poetry Prize. She also enjoys writing screenplays, short stories, and plays.