BEGIN TYPING YOUR SEARCH ABOVE AND PRESS RETURN TO SEARCH. PRESS ESC TO CANCEL

The Sailors Mutter After Odysseus Orders Them Not to Open the Sack From Aeolus

This selection is paired with Book 10 of The Odyssey by Homer. Get Issue 22 of NonBinary Review from Zoetic Press.


Old windbag, always warning.
What harm can come to us

while the west wind strums melodies
on the zither of the sails?

Kings may grow wise wandering
the way of the mind,

but not I, tooth-short
already, limping and scarred.

It was he who wrenched us away
from the lotus fruit. It gave great

sweetness and rest—do you
remember that time of peace?

Now he guards his gold—
or whatever good thing

may be coiled up hiding
inside this sack.

When we arrive, will his kingliness
keep us in grain and sandals?

The gray-eyed goddess
rewards close counsel;

yet Hermes brings riches
to the quick-acting.

The roofs of Ithaca are spreading
across the horizon—

Loosen the knot, and pull—
What harm can come to us

while the west wind strums melodies
on the zither of the sails?

Kings may grow wise wandering
the way of the mind,

but not I, tooth-short
already, limping and scarred.

It was he who wrenched us away
from the lotus fruit. It gave great

sweetness and rest—do you
remember that time of peace?

Now he guards his gold—
or whatever good thing

may be coiled up hiding
inside this sack.

When we arrive, will his kingliness
keep us in grain and sandals?

The gray-eyed goddess
rewards close counsel;

yet Hermes brings riches
to the quick-acting.

The roofs of Ithaca are spreading
across the horizon—

Loosen the knot, and pull—


Meg Yardley lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work has appeared recently or is forthcoming in publications including the East Bay Review, Rogue Agent, SWWIM, Peauxdunque Review, and District Lit.