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Odysseus with a Siren in the Corner of His Eye

by Valerie Duff

What are you afraid of? You’ll see her
gleaming from the cave, her stare,

stony, unreadable. By ear you navigate
your cruel way home, short of breath.

Walls along the crypts,
a chorus on the shore, spikes of glass

track the ridge. What is it in her words,
frozen grains opening melodically

like tiny grates. The nautilus.
Admit it: your grizzled eye

is pleased. You hoped for
salt flats, white beach, dead sleep,

the grotto where she’s not supposed to be.
You can’t have everything. The veins

in your arm swell, stoked
by wind, blue on the prow.

Do you know you’re angry?


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