Resembling himself, Tony sips the cool blue of
his wife’s Electric Lemonade through a curly straw,
and her lust pulses once in recognition.
Here he is, four months home from Kandahar,
refashioned from the silence of days beyond accounting for.
Scholars point to four different endings in The Odyssey.
There’s the vendetta; Athena’s intervention; a covenant of peace.
Each unsatisfied century tacking on its own two cents.
But how the original tales end: his bow bends back,
a dozen soon-dead suitors awed at the snap of that true arrow.
He never doubts his queen’s devotion. Never sniffs after rumors
like a dog through swamp grass. Or we never have to see it.
Never have to see her test him, half-stranger, in the mysteries of her need.
For all lovers, unwritten hours.
For these two, watching catspaw breezes soothe a tousled sea,
walking hand-in-hand to where dark green shadows dusk on a plum tree,
touching bark where once he carved initials in the broad afternoon—
an hour is its own consummation.
How close is rupture to rapture.
How far fruit grows from the ground.
Scholars point to different endings in The Odyssey, and why not?
Memory too is a mud-caked epic of bite marks and abatements.
Tony sips the cool blue of his wife’s Electric
Lemonade through a curly straw, while the streetlights,
turned on, will burn uniformly for hours. Fixture. Filament. Fuse.
And how like the singed edge of old papyrus,
impossible to choose which future
knuckles on the door
at the midnight of this final line.
Boulevard Spring 2014
Copyright © 2014 by Christopher Robley
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission