Another Failed Poem about the Greeks

His sword dripped blood. His helmet gleamed.
He dragged a Gorgon's head behind him.

As first dates go, this was problematic.
He itched and fidgeted. He said
Could I

save something for you?
But I was all out
of maidens bound to rocks. So I took him

on a roller coaster, wedging in next to
his breastplated body in the little car.

He put his arm around me, as the Greeks do.
On the first dip he laughed. On the first drop

he clutched my shoulder and screamed like
a catamite. When we ratcheted to a full stop

he said
Again. We went on the Scrambler,
the Apple Turnover, the Log Flume.

We went on the Pirate Ship three times,
swooshing forward, back, upside down,

and he cried
Aera!, waving his sword,
until the operator asked him to please keep

all swords inside the car. He was a good sport,
letting the drachmas fall out of his pockets;

sparing the girl who spilled punch on his shield;
waving as I rode the Carousel's hippogriff

though it was a slow ride, and I made him
hold my purse. On the way home

he said
We should do this again sometime,
though we both knew it would never happen

since he was Greek, of course, and dead,
and somewhere a maiden rattled her chains.
Sandra Beasley's Theories of Falling won the 2007 New Issues Poetry Prize. Her poems
New Poets and elsewhere. Her awards include fellowships to Vermont Studio Center, Virginia
Center for Creative Arts, and the Millay Colony. She lives in Washington, DC, where she serves
on the editorial staff of
The American Scholar.