Few things are as convincing as the Greek landscape
when Dörpfeld explains it in the 1900 translation
of The Odyssey. November—blood month—and dawn
sprawling over its doily of cumulae like a lover might
a bed not hers. Or it could scatter like embers
on the underside of history, assume the shape
a body made in Herculaneum, become the sand
in an arena, volleyball court, hourglass. Patience.
Amazed as windows, our eyes the wine-blue of water
with nothing under it, it’s all we can do to keep loving you,
rosy-fingered whatever, as we might an ice cube
bumper-carring on a scarred griddle iron. You’re a boo-boo,
a radiant revenant in your gardens of toule.
Once each day, you return Persephone-etched
to your number, dumber each time the date
falls like a date, soft, too soft, sugared to solvency.
Edible erasure, I could finger the corners of a sunset
if you let me. I’ve waited for you. I’m a waiter and the waited-
for hors d’oeuvres, chattering like teeth on a tin tray.
Chad Davidson is the author of Consolation Miracle (Southern Illinois UP, 2003), winner of the Crab Orchard Prize in poetry. His work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Hotel Amerika, River Styx, Virginia Quarterly Review, and The Writer's Chronicle. He teaches English at the University of West Georgia. (1/2005)