Landscape of a House Above the Sea – Youssef Helmi
Driving home I see this little girl tromping in a blue dress,
Stomping on mother’s hard-worked poppies with a wooden
Spoon in hand, but I have to believe she wasn’t really there,
On a road surrounded by dozens of fences and homes, but
Elsewhere, like in a painting of a house on a cliff by the sea
Where the house is yellow with a red tile roof and a mighty fig
Tree. I imagine she gave it a lighthouse, not enormous, but bright
And strong to weather the coming tempest. Instead of the family
Sedan, outside the house is a minivan for three boys and her, the
Girl whose hair is as red as the poppies dancing alongside while
She stands on the cliff above the fish and brine, declaring herself
With scepter, paper crown, and sapphire gown, Queen of the Sea.
But she stops her play because the storm has come, one who
Rages and thunders and rains, so she huddles by the window
Inside, still wearing her crown, nautical scepter in hand, and through
The window, past the fig that groans and flails, she looks powerful
And commanding, lifting her arms up to address the calling gale, and
As she decrees, the lighthouse’s beam sweeps over racking tides in
Search of those who dare defy Her Highness, the Queen of the Sea.
Youssef Helmi is an Egyptian-American writer and poet at Florida State University where he studies Creative Writing, Political Science, Arabic, and French. His fiction and poetry has been featured or is forthcoming in Cleaver Magazine, Scribendi Magazine, and the Rappahannock Review. When not writing, he stress drinks lattes at local coffee shops, rewatches Wes Anderson movies, and muses over the musical merits of death metal.