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It's So Hard (After Painting "Over the Sofa" by Vincent Amicosante), by Phyllis Mass (Delaware County/Main Line Workshop)

It's so hard to be me, hovering over the sea on a bright red overstuffed sofa surrounded by a garland of pink flowers with chrome yellow centers. My arms are fixed firmly above my head; my half-naked chest bared bravely in the sunset; my wings at rest. You think being a goddess born from the foam of the sea is easy? Hah. Sometimes it's hot, sometimes it's cold, sometimes it's sunny, sometimes it pours and sometimes those peaceful white doves that circle my head lose theirs, if you know what I mean. They mess up my hairdo which takes hours to style now that Pirro, the traveling coiffeurer to the gods, has taken his large round natural boar bristle brushes and hightailed it to Chanukkale Bay. But, hey, nobody ever said being a goddess was easy. At least, that what my ancient seer friend and mentor Thalassa once said. And if everyone could do it, it wouldn't be worth anything. So I try not to complain, but it's very, very hard.

From this vantage point, I see innocent people being mauled by killer dogs. I see bones breaking, cancer, war, plagues and AIDS spreading, divorce, murder and death rates rising. I also see weddings unfolding, marriages flourishing, sweet sixteens, graduations and newborns entering the planet at record rates. The good outweighs the bad, thank the goddess, but, sometimes, it's so hard to maintain one's perspective....even for me.

Oh, dear. The shifting wind is causing my skirt to slip and a dove just pooped on my head for the fifth time this week. I think my left breast is beginning to sag, my right one itches and I spy a giant hermit crab in need of new shelter. It's claiming one of the two conch shells that’s holding up my flowery garland.

No, no, keep away, shoo, shoo. Get lost, you hear? Uh-oh! There goes symmetry, there goes balance, there goes the neighborhood. It's so hard to be me - and getting harder with each and every minute.

Phyllis Mass is a former actress who writes and lives in Philadelphia. She is currently revising a novel.