symbol leaves no taste for the thing itself

Elizabeth Hoover

Menelaus wanted a war
so he trained Helen in beauty:
sit in a darkened room, think of nothing.


This and other tricks I learned
in the airless trailer where
my boyfriend kept me.


You can make your eyes adjust
to the dark faster if
you never open them.


It was then that I became invested
in the credibility of the unreal,
the certainty of disguise.


The mask of a woman, under it
another mask, under that—a girl
not quite thirteen.


In recreating what he took,
I learned that to create is a joy.
I use the materials I have: torso


consumed by fatty shapes, concealed
under a ballgown with a feathered face,
bowed like a bug in a cage.


I know what Helen thought
locked in her room during
the slaughter. I will use it

as the script for my new performance
about the joy of a monster so far
from the city she can’t be hunted.


Would you like to perform with me?
Would you like to finally see what
we can do with these things?