"Odysseus Seeing Laertes"

A weekly poem, read by the author.
April 5 2011 6:58 AM

"Odysseus Seeing Laertes"

Click the arrow on the audio player to hear George Kalogeris read this poem. You can also download the recording or subscribe to Slate's Poetry Podcast on iTunes.


It's getting dark, and he's still in the yard. By now
She'd be stewing over the steamy kátsaróles
She has to reheat but glad that he's finally home.

He's inspecting his favorite tree, the sour quince.
All day he's been hacking away at carcasses
Of frozen chickens, piled up on his chopping block

Like little hecatombs of smoking entrails.
The sour quince has put forth pink and white petals,
Like the flakes of sawdust stuck to his blood-stained work boots.

As when I was a boy, standing away from the shade,
And he would turn and see me, and call me over,
Singing, from the trees, that line from the swallow song:

Come here, little bird. Come here, come here, don't go.




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