Oh So Clever Odysseus

By Jessica Stilling


Did Odysseus’ ship follow

Wax and waning rivers Poseidon cried to the sea, to the sea and you

You ignored him

Traversing transient shores

The raging waves

The rage of who? I could have sworn it was Achilles?

Mono-vision envy

Where the hell was Cassandra and why did we not listen?

It was right there, right there we could all see it

Tumbling it’s too late now the ship is gone we won’t get it back

Not in our lifetime

The wreck of Ulysses

This again the Romans changed it

All because he defied Poseidon

Greeks and gifts but here we are more cities fallen

Like when I look into your eyes and all of eternity

It gets compressed to bellies and whales and I wonder

What, what did I do wrong?

The blame lies solely, solidly, like firm hands on my shoulders I’m sure, no, no, I know

I know

The way the waves rocked Calypso so fast asleep

She could wander hidden hillsides and still afraid to count

Days, months, did she know it was years?

Did you bore her with your self-satisfying stories?

Learning nothing from Poseidon - he tried, tried to teach you

And why, why Penelope?

You planed to run from her but I

I didn’t see it coming

Will they follow at a distance those ancient corded ships?

Twists and tangles knot after knot you’d swear the world was ending

Is it?

I don’t know anymore I’ve lost all judgment

Couldn’t tell you what day it is

Look at a clock and the hour escapes me

Monsters and sirens battle seven-year islands

As we, we watch and wonder what is there




Jessica Stilling has published over 40 short stories and poems in various literary journals including Caustic Frolic, The Warwick Review and Wasifiri. Her debut novel Betwixt and Between was published in 2013 and most recent novel, a literary examination of the life of the poet Sylvia Plath, will be published in September 2019 by Bedazzled Books. She has taught writing and literature at various schools including The New School, The State University of New York, The City University of New York and The Gotham Writer's Workshop. She has published nonfiction in various outlets including Tor.com and the Ms. Magazine Blog