Penthesilea before Achilles
Penthesilea grieves for Ares and Otrera, a stony tear scars her right eye, the only chink in her flawless symmetry and perpetual, beautiful sadness. She’s fearsome and battle-ready, a study of physical power and dispassionate restraint. Her lips part in silent lament and she raises her arm to reveal a flesh wound, the cut not deep enough to amputate the memory of her guilt. She’s a brazen temptation to the Trojans, her heart unarmored for her deadly tryst with Achilles. Stripped of her weapons, her horse and her honor, she strides toward her suicide, bleeding nine rivers of blood for Hippolyta.
Sarah Z. Sleeper just finished her first novella, Suicide Forest. She is a fiction writer, poet, editor and journalist. Most recently, she published three poems in Painters & Poets, and another in Write to Woof, a journal that benefits service and shelter dogs. Her short story, “A Few Innocuous Lines,” won an award from Writer’s Digest and was published in Legends literary journal, and her stories “We Chat” and “School Dummy” will be published soon. Her flash fiction, “Gretchen in the Box,” was published in The Story Shack. Her ekphrastic poetry collection was exhibited at the Bellarmine Museum of Art at Fairfield University. She was editor-in-chief of the literary journal Mason’s Road, and is part of the editorial team for New Rivers Press. In her twenty-year career prior to completing her MFA at Fairfield University in 2012, she was published by Fortune, The Christian Science Monitor, The National Journal and others, as well as by companies such as SAP, Intel and Qualcomm. She won three journalism awards and received a fellowship from the National Press Foundation. She is a member of PEN America, the Authors Guild, and the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, and is a past vice-president of the National Writers Union.