Winter 1986 • Vol. VIII No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 1986 |

Ulysses and the Sirens

I never had much curiosityabout that first queasy stepdown on the moon. But who hasn'thankered secretly to know exactlywhat Ulysses heard or saw?Who hasn't envied him a little,shackled to his mast when the swellsof their oiled thighs beganunrolling from the oily thighsof the ocean's slow swellsand their pale limbs liftingfrom the water's turning limbscame turning toward himand they rose one after anotherlike knowledge from the water,up from that green library, the sea,flashes of their bare shouldersclimbing from the water's flashingshoulders, their faces drenched,still sightless in the passionof the water. I'd liketo think that no matter how dizzyingtheir song, Ulysses' gaze—oh,he was curious—picking the nearestone, would have gone straightto her pubic zone—that where there should have beena wedge of hair, exactlythere is where he zeroed in—that while there was still timebefore the sea, brandishingits shields, its scales, its randomdents of light, covered her again,he stared

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