For the Girls, I / Christina M Rau

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dancing girl press, 2014

Christina M. Rau is the founder of Poets In Nassau, a reading circuit on Long Island, NY. She teaches English at Nassau Community College where she also serves as Editor for The Nassau Review and Coordinator of the Creative Writing Project. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing at LIU Southampton, her MA in English and Creative Writing at Hofstra, and her BS in English at SUNY Oneonta. She has taken workshops with Billy Collins at Southampton's Summer Writing program and Rachel Wetzsteon at the 92nd Street Y. Christina has also conducted poetry writing workshops through LIU Post's Hutton House Lectures and for a small group of writers in the Graphic Eye Gallery. Find her reviews of poetry collections in Fjords Review and Gently Read Literature. Her own poetry has appeared on gallery walls in The Ekphrastic Poster Show, on car magnets for The Living Poetry Project, and most recently in the journals Technoculture, Crony, and Redheaded Stepchild. She tweets on Twitter, pins on Pinterest, reposts on Tumblr, reviews on Goodreads, yowls on Yelp, and updates on Facebook. In her non-writing life, she teaches yoga occasionally and line dances on other occasions.

Naming The Wife Of Sisyphus

Cathy—it’s a sweet name,
one who loves her husband
but since she’s got a bit
of resistance in her, maybe
it’s Kathy, with a K,
or Kat since she’s got some
sass, too, or Katerina,
a strong, sexy name,
but that would make her too skinny.
No one has ever seen a fat Katerina;
Fat Katerinas simply do not exist.
She needs to have some weight
so she can throw it around
when she stands her ground.
Georgina—slender with a slight belly,
a woman who can bellow at the Gods,
but that’s not old enough;
it needs to be antiquated,
like Antigone, but not as depressed,
like Aphrodite, but not as beautiful,
like Angelika, but less cinematic.
Frannie, Francine, that must
be her name—no, Francesca,
a woman with looks, older but not
too old a soul, one strong enough
to love a man whose heart attacks him
and then kills him
though he refuses to die.
Perhaps that’s too pretty still;
even a slightly average woman
would move on.
Laura, Maria, Betsy, Daphne,
Portia, Sally, Vesta, Wanda,
Yolanda, Zelda, Helen—
nothing quite fits.
They are all slightly off.
Nothing safely and soundly
encompasses all that is the woman
who stands by her man
in the face of his false immortality
and the consequences of his
undeadly denial.