. . On Alma Tadema’s Coign of Vantage Flora peeks over the marble parapet, a dizzying perch above the azure Aegean. The Roman fleet is returning. 'Tis the season to flirt, to catch a lover in her net. Julia and Livia stand close, her bosom friends. Tomorrow they’ll break their sisterly pact— each flaunting girl-flesh in the public baths, vying to beguile wealthy centurions. Lying prone, his back turned, a lion of bronze, neck adorned with forsythia. His tail flicks. If asked his opinion, he’d lazily yawn, contented to bask in the warm sunlight, surveying human follies from this sheer height. Bright sun, blue sea. The galvanic, dazzling ships! . . The Education of Wisdom Athena at sixteen: a taciturn girl, inattentive in class, instead she’s obsessed with War and Peace, concealed under her desk. Hers is not Edith Hamilton’s myth. The whirl of college, her doctorate; she flails about, non-tenure-track, staring down career doom. A Burmese cat and a booklined bedroom soothe her. Drinking wine alone, her escape route, she morphs into a drunk, “recovers,” but then? AA’s fatuous platitudes cannot nourish an idea-besotted mind. So, what to do? Scribble sonnets! urges Euterpe, her friend. Welcome to our bardic tribe. We cherish Tolstoy’s wisdom: the rare, the beautiful, the true! . . Mary Jane Myers resides in Springfield, Illinois. She is a retired JD/CPA tax specialist. Her debut short story collection Curious Affairs was published by Paul Dry Books in 2018.