Dear Helena, – Elizabeth Sylvia

	I am your spaniel – A Midsummer Night’s Dream 	
 
When you told Demetrius
that the girl he lusted for
 
was headed for the forest
with the boy she wanted in her turn
 
and then you followed him
with hopes that he
 
would beat you like his dog,
I knew you were someone I could talk to.
 
Say want is a shadow twin
beguiling all our deeds, a double
 
with us in the sac, a night-comforter
and eater from our plate. Don’t let
 
me deny want is my sister. Help
me own her
	      For I can
take little from love’s platter
 
though offered. I make love
like the messenger bee,
 
treasuring the glinting dust
the flower shakes away.
 
Helena, you do not want these ways.
Your want is grasping, adores the face
 
of its shame, feels hot in the cold,
does not care if in the end
 
you lick stolen love dropped
by Oberon off the back of a truck.
 
Teach me to want so.
That I should not even need
 
a potion to admit how I have
longed for an ass’s head. 


Read: Reading and Writing about Shakespeare by Elizabeth Sylvia

Elizabeth Sylvia (she/her) is a writer of poems and other lists who lives with her family in Massachusetts, where she teaches high school English and coaches debate. Elizabeth’s work is upcoming or has recently appeared in Salamander, Pleiades, Soundings East, J Journal, RHINO, Main Street Rag and a bunch of other wonderful journals. She is currently working on a verse investigation of the writer Elizabeth Barstow Stoddard.

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