‘Helen, Setting Matters Straight’ by Madeline Parsons

Helen, Setting Matters Straight

There wasn’t a woman in town didn’t think
I was the devil incarnate the way I walked
out on my three children – just ran into the kitchen
one day, set down the messages, threw myself
into the car and hightailed it to the hills.
He was waiting for me above in Glen Na Smole,
my golden haired Adonis. I could hardly wait
to shred the clothes off his lovely body, and stretch
myself out next to him on the bed, and stroke his silken
limbs, and wrap his two strong arms around me.
He put his mouth on mine, and poured a baptism
of life into my dried up soul. After twelve years
in the desert of my marriage, it was like supping
water from a sacred well. I got stone drunk on it.
My husband sent his brother and an army
of relations to bring me back. That fellow is a nobody,
they said, compared to what you had. But I would not
budge from him, no matter how they begged,
or threatened, pleaded, or cajoled. They brought
a letter from himself. Come home, he wrote,
the children cry for you. That tore at me, it’s true,
but I could not give him up. I never wrote, or spoke
to them again. O little ones, now grown, I know it’s late
for setting matters straight, but here it is anyway:
I went with him because he made my body sing.
Madeline Parsons, a Dubliner now living in Westcliff-on-Sea in Essex, belongs to the Southend Poetry Group and has had poems published in their annual anthology. She is also a member of OU Poets, and contributes to the bi-monthly workshop magazine as well as having a poem chosen for inclusion in the anthology, Openings. She also writes short stories, some of which have won prizes and appear in a variety of anthologies. She is a Joyce scholar and runs the Southend James Joyce Society, where they are currently reading the ‘Circe’ episode in Ulysses. You can follow her on twitter @ParsonsMadeline