Wise Penelope

by Claire Scott

Twenty years without hearth sitting, shawl weaving,
sock sewing, without supervising servants so the roast pig
is pleasing to the hoards of lascivious men swigging wine,
pinching servants and waving cardboard swords

Twenty years of adventures, the captain of her ship
never falling for lotus flowers or the seductive voices of sirens
no need for wax plugs in her ears
but Poseidon saw her make offerings to grey-eyed Athena
and sent a tsunami to destroy her ship

Rowing home on a battered raft, her mind glowing with one-eyed giants,
fierce cannibals and sea monsters with six heads
knowing her husband has not woven and unwoven a shroud
knowing he is living on the lips of prostitutes
and a fireside is waiting to swallow her

A dog barks on the shore, runs up and down the beach
let the bard’s words take up wings and sing away
she sails on

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