Odysseus Among the Prostitutes

Odysseus can't sleep.
Dons a disguise and leaves
the safety of palace
to wander the streets

in drag. The gown's hem
gathers debris, sweeps
away the path of footsteps.
You are almost invisible.

Shake out the leaves
that whisper your truth,
the bones that clack out
your arrival.

The prostitutes turn
and assess you:
you are no threat—
no profit either.

You are the prince
they've been waiting for,
but you can’t save them.
Can barely save yourself.

Here, where artifice reigns,
your secret lies slack under your robe.
Poor Odysseus, navigating
through the panic of a rejected life.

Look around you at this island
of beauty and desire, listen
to the song emanating under
the quiet hush of those who barter.

Once you tied yourself to the mast.
The song has not left you. Untie
the knots that bind. The bones
at your feet are not yours.

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