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Odysseus Alone at Sea

This selection is paired with Book 5 of The Odyssey by Homer. Get Issue 22 of NonBinary Review from Zoetic Press.


Why do I smell hyacinth on the night air—

black upon rising black, ruthless thrum
my aching elbow slipping from splintered plank
this is the end

and yet I lash the sea, ever-deep,
as cavernous as the hollow is
that I felt within my hipbone
as a boy sprinting down the shore of Ithaca
as I saw your hair lift
the first time

I will drown, and yet the tether of you runs down
into my belly, cords about my arrogance
and calls me king
mortal union
the air no god can steal

Salt crusts the edge of this honey-stained mouth
that reaches for you

Ithaca

Blood mists from these sputtered breaths,
though I cannot see it in the blackness

Ithaca
I would know your shape
the shape of unwrapping my wife from blankets,
sheen of warm sleep still on her forehead
the way her arm crooks something close in the shade of sleep
sopping linen ache, raw with sea,
deafening sameness, while my desperate hands
bend this fractured wood into olive bark,
the branches above

and you
you are Ithaca
to whom I will return.


Amy E. Casey writes poetry, poem-comics, and fiction. Her work has been seen in Split Rock Review, Psaltery & Lyre, and Sheepshead Review. She is a 2017 Pushcart Prize nominee. She lives and writes in Wisconsin, near the cold, wild shores of Lake Michigan.