by Jennifer Finstrom

If someone takes you and puts you
in a poem, of course it isn’t really you,
just as a doll stuck full of pins late at night
isn’t really the boy in the girl’s mind.
But just the same, if someone takes
a you that isn’t you and puts you
in a world that isn’t real, something
still happens. It might be more accurate
to say that a poem creates myth and
that every poem writes its own labyrinth,
is its own hidden minotaur, and you must
decide if you are Theseus or Ariadne,
Daedalus or Icarus. You must decide
whether, reaching the poem’s heart,
you will try to kill it or if you will, instead,
grow wings out of feathered words and lift
into a single perfect hour of sunlight.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Both myth and fairy tale have been great influences on my work for longer than I can remember. I feel that both are living things and that they can never be exhausted: they will always have something new to say.

IMAGE: “Circe Invidiosa” by John William Waterhouse (1892).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Jennifer Finstrom teaches in the First-Year Writing Program, tutors in writing, and facilitates a writing group, Writers Guild, at DePaul University. She has been the poetry editor of Eclectica Magazine since October of 2005, and her work appears in After Hours, Cider Press Review, Midwestern Gothic, NEAT, and RHINO, among others. In addition, she has a poem forthcoming in The Silver Birch Press The Great Gatsby Anthology.