We were at Grandma’s house for the last time,
my mother, sister and me. While they slept
I read, under a blanket, on the edge
of the camp bed. The slow glow of the fire
imprinting the flickering plain before Troy.
I read of Telemachus and his men
beaching in the sandy light of Pylos,
driving on hard into the Spartan hills,
the rolling lands where horses run thunder,
stunned at his going in to the palace —
just speaking to Menelaus, Helen,
like they were real people. I sat and heard
the king tell of the recon, the belly,
of his hold over Proteus tightening
like the thickening speech marks, read forgetting
where I was, forgetting the funeral
in the cloud-clawed morning, read in a grip
deeper than blinking or breath, till that pat
of the kid’s head, Telemachus there, a son
fully grown, like the lack of his own.
The camp bed must have creaked. The low fire clicked.
I wonder did I think of my father
already laid to rest, or departed,
or barely sleeping, just the other side
of a wall which was just as well the world.