Penelope, after the return

copyright Victoria Corona 2006, all rights reserved.  Used by permission.

The first time he touched me

after twenty years gone

I could feel the lingering traces

of those from whom myths are born

the scent of every secret island

breathing warm on my neck

the sand of every foreign shore

ground into his calloused hands

the tongue of salty tradewinds

whispering in my ear

Some of his tales can be believed

embraced, even

others barely excuse

the wandering spirit

led by winds and rumors

Already, his tales stand alone

gaining weight and color

walking away to their own wanderings

carried off by the pilgrims

come to adore the great warrior

the great wanderer

the aging legend at my hearth

content to recount

what ceased to be his

the day his foot left my shore

 

If I sound ungrateful for this restoration

if it can be so called

it goes unnoticed by the great man

filling my home with his legend

and his growing entourage

Different promises were made by different gods

and here they clash

vying for dominance

and perspective

The Queen who walked alone

now walks behind

looks ahead at the warrior

still lost and wandering

while chained to the end

of his adventures

landlocked and forced to master

a rusty plow instead

of billowing sails

 

And me, I fall away

serve his wine

soothe his nightmares

nurture my own in secret

let him pretend there are new myths

awaiting his discovery

let him believe that his ship

will sail again

that his might will never fade

nor will my devotion

Still awaiting the return of a husband

whose shade still wanders

without me.

 

 

from the chapbook Penelope

Kimberly White 2003

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