And there he sat, in strange despair,
until his lamp flickered in the socket and left
the Artist of the Beautiful in darkness.
–Nathaniel Hawthorne, “The Artist of the Beautiful”
Hawthorne’s fallen angel sifts through images
discarded by the artist of the beautiful
preserving the gilt winged butterfly
in an empty milk bottle.
She ascends a magic carpet
where lepers shed their bells
and take up harps,
and mere words give birth to imagery.
Antigone embraces her father’s blindness
and stumbles through a darker shade of night.
Kaleidescopic black saturates
while the tragic heroine
abandons her quest for the
to seek a marketable trade.
Gloria Heffernan’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in over three dozen journals and magazines including: Chautauqua Journal, Columbia Review, Gargoyle, Grey Sparrow Journal, Pleiades, Stone Canoe, The Healing Muse, The New York Times Metropolitan Diary, Chronicle of Higher Education, Radiance Magazine, and Talking Writing. She teaches part-time at Le Moyne College in Syracuse and holds a Master’s Degree in English from New York University.
Artwork: Christian Schloe, “There Is Love In You”