A Poor Definition

March 19, 2010
By Laura Berman BRONZE, Buffalo Grove, Illinois
Laura Berman BRONZE, Buffalo Grove, Illinois
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

“Don’t go,” he groaned as though awoken
to the girl whose quiet feet had touched the floor.
“I mean, stay if you want.”

“If you want,” to the girl
whose white thighs slid from the sheets silently
so as not to raise the lids
that tried to hide his wakened eyes
betrayed by flickers back-and-forth
and breaths too smooth and slow.

“Don’t go,” to red freckles in random spray
across her shoulders
and down her half-moon spine.
“Don’t go,” to the arch of her foot
and her back’s contour,
to her hair-haloed silhouette
and her shadow, curving dark along the sheets.
“Don’t go,” to the smell of her,
of honey in green tea
and lavender shampoo.

“If you want,” to the fingers
that tried his wedding ring—
every finger but the fourth—
it didn’t even fit her thumb,
it was too large.
“If you want,” to Dido
on the marble pyre.
She let the trinket clink back on the table:
this, the only noise she made
but for sibilant breath,
the rustle of white thighs against sheets and one another,
and the bare, dull fall of her feet
against the floor.

If he wanted to pretend he’d been asleep,
well, she could pretend too.

The author's comments:
I wanted to reinterpret the idea of Dido, of Vergil's Aeneid, in a modern context-- the powerful female lover who nonetheless falls prey to her desire for a man who is devoted to something else. It is simultaneously an homage to that ancient work and a commentary on the social progress we have made since. Society, more accepting now of (or willing to turn a blind eye to) the transgressions of such women, allows her to walk away rather than destroying herself.

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.

Parkland Book