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?
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
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
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.