Winter 2023 • Vol. XLV No. 1 Poetry |

Helen of Troy Avoids Her School Reunion

A golden shovel from The Iliad, Book 6, lines 408–9, translated by Robert Fagles you start off all bowl-cut tube-sock schoolhouse rock and end up a bitch, and i’ve never been able to clock when it happened, what fine day that lemon soured, what burger i’d snarfed for lunch, what copy of tiger beat i was caking in doodle hearts while the proclamation rang out: i was, i am, i ever shall be, bitch-hood delivered by angels on high gumming vicious wads of bubble yum and sliding each other these sweet little scheming glances, as if i hadn’t already tea-leaved my fate straight out of the horror of the morning bus ride. their cherry-pie faces, of course i was gagging to know: was it my hair, my clothes, was it the way i didn’t good-girl freeze when kevin smith touched my waist, the way i laughed and loosened the buckled cage of my ribs, how i reached in right away to dig out my heart?

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Photo of Maria Zoccola
Maria Zoccola is a queer Southern writer with deep roots in the Mississippi Delta. She has writing degrees from Emory University and Falmouth University. Her work has previously appeared or is forthcoming in Ploughshares, The Iowa Review, The Cincinnati Review, The Massachusetts Review, and elsewhere.

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