Eleanor Wilner
"Entering the Labyrinth," an essay on the persona poem.

Eleanor Wilner
Four persona poems: Minos, Ariadne, Daedalus, and The Minotaur.


This marks an author's first online publication Michelle Boisseau

This marks an author's first online publication Annie Boutelle
Christine Casson
This marks an author's first online publication Carolyn Creedon
Claudia Emerson
Daisy Fried
Diane Gilliam
Shadab Zeest Hashmi
Kathleen Jesme
Ilya Kaminsky
Marilyn Krysl
David Lee
Gary Copeland Lilley
Maurice Manning
Alicia Ostriker
Alicia Jo Rabins
Tim Seibles
This marks an author's first online publication Heidy Steidlmayer
Book Review
"Tourist in Hell" by Eleanor Wilner—Book Review, by David Rigsbee.

Marilyn Krysl

Marilyn Krysl's latest books are Warscape with Lovers (Cleveland State Poetry Center, 1997) and How to Accommodate Men (Coffee House Press, 1998). Her poems have appeared in The Atlantic, The Nation, Iowa Review, and McSweeney's online.


Kill or be killed the war makers insist,
but do they risk their flesh behind a desk?
Real warriors go one on one, they spar,
and if they lose a leg, both legs, they live
with that. Live on. Alone. Unsung. Only
to these young, these brave, will I bow down,

I who was born the daughter of my mother.
She's smarter than my father, that CEO
of industry's biggest biz-killing, that is.
His cowards sit at screens, martinis in hand,
and half the earth away send up an unmanned
drone. (Though who's unmanned?) More drones

must fly to battle and wear out, else there
would be no need for more—and without sales,
how will Daddy prosper? And sales prop
an economy built on arms. How's my girl,
he asks, calls me his Iffy, as if he knew me.
He dotes. He wants to buy me

something for my birthday. How about
a drone, I say, a Predator!? That's when he sees
me, Iphigenia. That's when I know that I will die.
Next day I buy a flak jacket, sign up.
Hey Daddy, look: I'm in your infantry!
It was easy doting on his Iffy,

but now I have become the real thing.
Now he has to praise me—I'm the news—
praise me, the young woman he just may lose.
(A comrade's friendly fire will kill me,
but I've got Daddy's attention, finally.)
He didn't know he loved me. Now he does,

he who'd made himself impervious.
(When I die, of course, my mom will kill him.)
To sacrifice one's own sweet life is honor
few would choose, but I will go among
the ones who do: grunt vets who live on drips,
legs gone, arms gone, and those whose minds won't work

but who still feel. For them I put on black
and walk the ward. This one's a warrior:
one leg gone. The other foot hangs down.
I kneel and wash the only foot he's got
(we two one being), as though it's mine.
Now I need nothing. Already I'm shining.



© 2010 The Cortland Review