Issue > Poetry
Megan Pinto

Megan Pinto

Megan Pinto is a poet and a playwright. Some poems can be found or are forthcoming in Ploughshares, Indiana Review, Tupelo Quarterly, and Four Way Review. She has received support from Bread Loaf and the Port Townsend Writer's Conference, and holds an MFA in Poetry from Warren Wilson.

Penelope's Song

Somewhere, Odysseus dips
            his cracked lips
into the sea. A cloud sinks.
            The porpoise
cannot taste. And tonight the tide
            runs low in the estuary
where she waits, where little fish
            dry out on the banks. This
is a moon song, for when
            the moon is gone: Odysseus
lighting the night with a candle,
            Odysseus,
loving his boat as he loves the sea.

            Consider
the continuous thread of desire
            that binds a body
to a thing. In ancient times
            hunger itself was the prayer,
emptiness reminding
            the body of its death.

But some nights, when
            the sea is full of fish,
under the dim and scattered
            stars, Odysseus
could knot his rope
            with the hair of dead men
and the tails of dead
            beasts.
He could put the men
            on his ship to sleep,
stuffing their loving
            ears with wax, to keep
the sirens for himself, as
            he lets them out
of their cages to bind
            their beautiful bodies
to the mast. I imagine

            Penelope
at home, weaving
            or not, the light
in her room, growing dim.
            Is this
what love is?

            I imagine
the sirens on the ship
            might grow cold. They
might touch, or try
            and sing. To speak

directly of the beloved
            is to burn. I shuffle
down the block through the snow.
            It’s Christmas Day, but you
have packed your things, you
            are gone.
 

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