Bio Note: I am a Midwestern high school teacher and Poetry Club advisor. My students and I have been actively involved in 100,000 Poets for Change. I served on the board of the Council for Wisconsin Writers and I am English language editor for Poetry Hall: A Chinese and English Bilingual Journal. I have published three chapbooks.
I’m not saying I was a JonBenét, exactly, but mother did enter me in beauty contests and made sure I won. I’ll admit it—I would never settle for anything less than trophy wife. I mean, I never got why that would be so bad— Your husband guaranteed to be rich and successful. People would envy you. So, you see this cute guy at some party in the Hamptons hanging out in the kitchen arguing about how Pluto is a real planet stuffing his face with canapes unable to take his eyes off you and you think, here we go again, until he snaps his fingers and you’re in his arms, dancing to Faithfully across the floor, out the door, into the night and you know it’s a dumb song from the eighties but it plays on, magically, as his boyish heat seeps into your fine bones, and you don’t want it to end, even after he whispers something emo about lord of the dead, wondering if you could love him forever. Well, dead-shmed. Who was I to care about that when he held my hand afterwards and something poured into me, into some hollow space I didn’t know I had. Now, when I see him perched on that throne, preposterous in that so-called crown, I find that because of the way he danced with me—me I actually want to know about these dead people approaching the dais, their lost stories flitting across my brow. This is the thing about Hades— it was not only my beauty that attracted him, it was the way I was already dead.
©2023 Sylvia Cavanaugh
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