Penelope’s Song, Louise Gluck


Little soul, little perpetually undressed one,
Do now as I bid you, climb
The shelf-like branches of the spruce tree;
Wait at the top, attentive, like
A sentry or look-out. He will be home soon;
It behooves you to be
Generous. You have not been completely
Perfect either; with your troublesome body
You have done things you shouldn’t
Discuss in poems. Therefore
Call out to him over the open water, over the bright
Water
With your dark song, with your grasping,
Unnatural song–passionate,
Like Maria Callas. Who
Wouldn’t want you? Whose most demonic appetite
Could you possibly fail to answer? Soon
He will return from wherever he goes in the
Meantime,
Suntanned from his time away, wanting
His grilled chicken. Ah, you must greet him,
You must shake the boughs of the tree
To get his attention,
But carefully, carefully, lest
His beautiful face be marred
By too many falling needles.

Louise Gluck

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