Paradise Island

Helena Mesa


If you choose to leave, the mother says
as her daughter sets sail,
you may never return. They face
different shores, the light
a darkness that strains. Everything
hued blue, the near-bronze
of tarnished shields.

No angel hovers above.
And the gate she passes through is
simply a shimmer. I can’t recollect
what happens next,
only Who will I be if I stay?

and the mother growing smaller,
first a figure, then a fist, then
an imagined speck where land
is indistinguishable from sea.


Helena Mesa is the author of Where Land Is Indistinguishable from Sea (forthcoming from Terrapin Books) and Horse Dance Underwater, and a co-editor for Mentor & Muse: Essays from Poets to Poets. Her poems have appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Indiana Review, Pleiades, Prairie Schooner, the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day series, and elsewhere. She lives in Ann Arbor.



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