Approaching the True
Odysseus could have immortality and the goddess of his choice
If he would forget the woman he left behind.
If he would forget himself.
But he won’t.
And he understands why not when he meets
The dead warriors and his dead mother in Hades
Telling him to go back, be good, and love well
Because absence does not make the heart grow fonder,
And leaving a warrior’s legacy is one thing
But it’s better to have someone to talk to and touch.
Go back and be good, they say, and he does--
But the men around him. Well, not so much
With their paranoia, appetite, and doubts.
They have not faced themselves and their worst fears
The way Odysseus has.
They never get home.
And he fights to reclaim his home
From the men who would take what they have not earned.
He lies to everyone before he reveals himself.
And the weird thing is, nobody seems to mind--
And the lies are so much less than the truth of his journey.
Maybe they know that the truth is a delicate thing
Before it is fully born. An embryo in need of careful nurturing.
Always, in the lying, there is the question: Will you know me?
And possibly this one: Can you?
Oh, and then: If you know me, will you stay?
Here is a man who has slain fierce enemies,
Challenged the Cyclops and gotten away with his life (and wine and gyros and feta)
Faced the women who, larger than life, would own him,
Making him a part of the fabric of their lives,
An element in a story they make
In solitude and magic: an object.
Here is a man who is humbled by Poseidon and then pledges to honor him.
Here is a man who walks with pride in his own strength
And confidence in the power of his words
Who cannot tell the truth to the woman he loves and has longed for
For way too many years.
And the funny thing is, all she really wants to know is
Did he remember where he came from, where their story began.