Wednesday Poem

Her Copy of the Epic

That afternoon I held the frayed edges
of my mother’s college Odyssey.
I touched her graphite in the margins, and
I felt the cheap acid paper of Fitzgerald’s
1962 translation. All edges become curves.

I read what Homer said of young Telemakhos,
“The son is rare who measures with his father,”
and the comment she left in a hand that has not changed,
or not much, “descent from a super-race?”
likewise men lag behind their works, their inventions.

Above the suture, the needle’s widening eye –
I had spent my Saturday wandering
through the bookstores in the Square,
reading dust jackets, trying to think
a thought so big you could fit your life through it.

My eyes on the nymph at the violin,
case open for homage. We’re more than a stone’s throw from rocky
soiled Ithaka. All hands on the bowstring
my hands can’t pull. She bows into her applause, the clink
of nickels, above which I can’t raise my voice.

It started to rain very gently. The margins
Seemed inviting.

by Benjamin Aldes Wurgaft
from Sleep on It;
Hot Metal Bridge, Spring 2010