by Mary Catherine Harper
How much better for them both,
that crazy mad Othello
to have been right in his surmise,
his saintly Desdemona
to have taken a lover after all.
But no man could get inside
that sad mad-in-love woman
the way her taciturn soldier could,
so let’s make a story not to be
refused, it’s all in the phrasing:
Propriety meets sublime whisper,
a museum’s unwashed art,
a naked Roman god tempting,
and she’s as easily conquered as
her man lured by Iago’s purr.
Seduction’s all about the voice,
the best of the Hellenistic god is
its mouth seeking her raw heart,
the marble love’s polished beg
for her strawberry handkerchief.
Mary Catherine Harper, Defiance College Professor of English and poet, teaches creative writing, literature, and composition. She organizes and reads poetry at the yearly SwampFire Retreat of artists and writers at 4 Corners Gallery in Angola, Indiana. Her most recent publications are forthcoming or have appeared in The Comstock Review, Cold Mountain Review, Pudding Magazine, and MidAmerica; her poem “Muddy World” won the 2013 Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize of the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature. More information can be found on the internet at mcharper.faculty.defiance.edu