Helen’s Mediterranean Cruise

Come, Helen, come, give me my soul again,
here I will dwell, for heaven is in these lips

(Faustus, Act V, scene 1 )

It all comes down to this: how does her mind
reveal itself and come to terms with cost?
She’s lost in mid-life themes; (not cheap embossed
post-nesting grandchild memes,) the absent grind
of menstrual cycles, mortgage payments, rose
and hyacinth gardens tending toward disease.
Both knees are tantalum; wrinkles claim to seize
her face; the mirror surely comes to blows

with vanity. She’s made allegiances,
subscribed to far-off friends in Phrygian lands
and tarried with thoughts of return, her lips
apart, between her hips tart grievances
sustained by manly lack, my sweat sweet hands,
the rudder, my grip, all the sailing ships…





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Charles (Charlie) Southerland lives on his farm in North-Central Arkansas where he bales hay, mills lumber, hunts and fishes. When he has time, he writes poetry on just about every subject. He is published in Trinacria, The Rotary Dial, First Things, The Road Not Taken and other journals. He has been nominated for a 2016 Pushcart Prize and is a finalist in the 2015 Howard Nemerov Sonnet Contest. He likes to write sonnets, villanelles and sapphics.