Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Hymn to Partenope

Partenope, predatory
as any earthly creature
,who all must eat,
omnivorous and unable
to fish—her bird wings got in the way
of the wire—created the art
of singing. To snare a man. Any man.
Not for loving—
she sang of other matters
of poverty perhaps, or camaraderie,
or the moonlight on the turbulent sea
—anything but romance, anything but love.

For she and her two sisters
had grown tired of poking their beaks
into the dirt, of grubbing
for scraps, and the island
was too rocky to plant. Anthropologists
confirm civilization impossible
under such circumstances.

            Not even Circe’s
Resources—a hut, a stall,
or the power of magic
to protect them, the sirens
did all that they could do.

Until Odysseus undid it all.
This is how my city was born in blood
And death and singing.



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