“Hamartia Unbound” by Sterling Warner

Cassiopeia glares down at me
from the heavens
chained to a tortuous chair, reflecting
on her vanity
forlorn, constantly fanning herself
with a palm leaf,
longing to behold her beauteous face
in a pearl-handle mirror.

Cassiopeia now saturates night skies, a
silvery studded constellation
wheeling her throne like a stellar convalescent
about the Celestial North pole
spending half her time circling the globe upside-down,
sending blood to her head
the “earth-shaker’s” punishment befitting
disparaging sea nymphs.

Brooding Cepheus sits by Cassiopeia, as undeserving
among planets as humans,
guilty of offering Andromeda to Cetus, atonement for
the Queen Mother’s transgressions;
(what’s with comparing mother/daughter beauty to goddesses,
Nereids, and female water spirits?)
Husband and wife filicide co-conspirator’s fate merits
Medusa’s gaze—a stone not star eternity.




A Washington-based author, educator, and pushcart nominee, Sterling Warner’s works have appeared in many international magazines, journals, and anthologies including the Scarlet Leaf Review, Street Lit: Representing the Urban Landscape, Visual Verse, Metamorphoses, BlogNostics and the Fib Review. His poetry and fiction collections include Rags & Feathers, Without Wheels, Edges, ShadowCat, and Memento Mori: A Chapbook Redux. His first fiction collection, Masques: Flash Fiction & Short Stories debuted in August 2020. Apart from washing hands, distancing, and wearing a face mask these days, Warner spends his time writing, wood working, and salmon fishing.

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