Homecoming Trilogy

by Carlene M. Gadapee

And Still I Wait, Unsuitored 
With a borrowed line from Homer

The winds are rough, the waves run deep,
And my lover heads home to me,
Whistling on the wine-dark sea.

What is out there for him to see,
Roaming the ocean, far away?
He’s whistling on the wine-dark sea.

Golden-sand islands, seductively
Beckon to sailors, held captively—
Can he whistle on the wine-dark sea?

Where stout ships, skimming mightily,
Wander on waves, so wild and free,
Will he whistle on the wine-dark sea?

Will my lover sail back to me?
I wait and sigh, so patiently,
Alone-- wind whistles on the wine-dark sea.

“Do not let her know everything you know” 
--Homer, The Odyssey

Secrets burrow a raw hole under the heart,
an itchy pebble in a sweat-soaked sandal.
Like lead bird-shot, its weight nestles
between C3 or C4, deep in the curvature, 
compressing the spine. What do you know 
about pain? Long pauses infiltrate like cancer 
cells deployed and scattered, guided missiles
that find tender spots that cannot heal. Keep 
your Calypso, your Circe, your singing Sirens, 
your unfaithful sacrifices made to the gods.
I’ll keep my tightly woven silence.

A grey-eyed owl blinks in the filtered light of dawn,
and pink gauze dissolves into shreds of night sky.
Athena glides in. Sulphur-smoke and vapor-trails 
of prophecy uncurl and twine into corners and under 

chairs. She speaks of truth, of oaths broken and debts 
to pay. Crafty Odysseus committed the brutal mistake, 
and suitors’ blood, purple and sticky, pools and draws 
flies, staining sacred space. Home denied, he must 

shoulder his oar. This next inland journey should be his 
last. Splintered wood reminds his hands the wine-dark 
sea will neither forget nor forgive: there is no rest.
Penelope weeps and weaves and waits again.


Carlene M. Gadapee lives in northern New Hampshire where she teaches English and is the Associate Creative Director and Education Consultant for The Frost Place in Franconia. Her work has been published by or is forthcoming in Waterwheel Review, Gyroscope Review, Smoky Quartz, Margate Bookie, bloodroot, and elsewhere.