I lay with him and he was not aroused,
Assevering an old wound’s irritant,
A dull ache in the breast that quells passion.
He lies. A clumsy sham, this clever man
To whom I could promise immortal bliss.
I see him, when he thinks me unaware,
Lugubriously pacing by the shore,
Staring off toward north, toward Ithaca,
His little isle of imperishable love.
Craning his neck at every scrap of cloud
That hovers gray above the horizon,
As if his What's–her–name were frying fish
And roasting fowl and venison for him
To come bounding in over the groundsel
With the smell of the sea wet in his hair.
That autumn hair would be bleeding silver,
His brow fissured as a stick of driftwood,
Were he there nodding by the fire with her.
But here he nibbles at his food, grows thin.
I weary of the languor in his eyes.
Why keep him when, within, he burns and dies?
About the Author: Faye George's poems have appeared in The Paris Review, Poetry, Yankee, Audubon's Sanctuary, and many other journals, magazines, and anthologies. She is the author of two poetry collections, A Wound on Stone and Back Roads, and two chapbooks, Only the Words and Naming the Place. George has received the Arizona Poetry Society's Memorial Award, the New England Poetry Club's Gretchen Warren Award and Erika Mumford Prize, among other honors; and her work is represented in Poetry magazine's 90th year retrospective, The Poetry Anthology, 1912–2000. She lives in Bridgewater, Massachusetts.
Copyright © 2008 by Faye George. The poem above will appear in George's forthcoming collection, Marchenhaft, Earthwind Editions and may not be reproduced in any form without the author's express written permission.