A woman can love
only so long in the dark,
like the deep-sea fish who go blind
so far underwater
and invent new ways of seeing. I see him
in the shadows, beside the hearth.
His unshaven cheeks
scratch my forearms as I sleep.
This was how I thought of him: always
in doorways. I tell you this: I loved him
better after he had gone. And some nights
I hoped that he was dead, or that
he would never return.
(The lover one imagines
is always sweeter than the one with
venison on his breath who drips gravy
on your clean sheets.)
This is why the men of Ithaka
disgust me, so immediate and hungry,
always smelling of mutton.
I don’t want him back.
when I say his name,
I’m dreaming of fire.