Penelope II


That you had put in storage.

Your past life

lies scattered in the yard.

Their contents,

still remembering your touch

wrapping each pot and pan

each cup and dish

with determination,

anger at your fate,

at false friends, betrayals,

rueful yet relieved

to leave it all

in newspapers

now stiff and yellowed.

I go through each box –

mice have been into the sheets –

moths into the woolies –

Was this the purse you wanted?

These the shoes?

One box has printed on the top

in English –

picture frames.

Mostly empty, some with prints,

only you know why they were kept.

At least here there is no doubt

about the silver frame

for there is only one.

Handsome, smooth, tarnished with time.

But you had not mentioned

the photo in the frame.

I take it home and set it on the table

by the window.

It sits there

and the thought of you

becomes ever more insistent.

The shadow of your presence haunts me.

Your eternal youth sings

through the years that since have passed.

The world you came from still exists

in some lost dimension

but a rift in the warp of time

makes you real.

You are gazing out towards…someone —

towards…the future.

“How lovely to see you, darling!” you are saying.

“What an exquisite evening.”

The young man to whom you spoke –

where is he now?

All gone – or old and bald.

Oh, children who laugh at me

for I am old

I was once a child like you

and walked along the railroad tracks…

Alfonso Gatto knew that children knew only children

and lived without a future.

You too are caught in that futureless world

surrounded by your Lancelots

who pay homage to their benevolent queen.

And even later

here in Italy

the boy you thought a Parsifal

deceived betrayed deluded you

played you for all you had.

But this was before,

as you proudly look out

from this grainy photo

in its tarnished silver frame.

To be continued . . .

2 thoughts on “Penelope II

  1. Penelope just gets better– lovely work Erika! love these lines j

    the boy you thought a Parsifal

    deceived betrayed deluded you


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