Carolyn OliverNovember 03, 2016
In the wind I lose the tumble of bone-white rocks
down the hillside in summer, a new lad missing
his footing or a goat scrabbling for parched grass.
 
Instead I linger over receding mountains
that rush high and fast out of the water, the light
sweeping up from dark waves. My brother’s glowing face.
 
Over the heavy breath of men grinding oars comes
the slap of wet on wood, like the head of a Greek
that once slipped from my hands in the temple’s torchlight.
 
I’d searched his face for Mycenae’s wild hills, his prayers
for a warrior’s commands. But he was no king
to break on my altar at last. Just an old man.
 
What I remember of my father: curls, oil-dark;
rough linen; a loose sandal he gave me to mend.
His hand was a blade slicing the air in summons.
 
I too have held the knife. Before gods, we tremble
like sails, must stand like the masts of ships. My father
shed no tears. There are enough in this wine-dark sea.

 

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

The latest from america

‘It is a question of perspective. Whose perspective do we adapt to when we ask questions like that?’
J.D. Long-GarcíaApril 12, 2021
The psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan explained how it can be healthy to sometimes ‘hate’ what we truly love, including the church.
Adam A.J. Deville April 12, 2021
If precedent is any indicator, whoever Biden names is likely to be a practicing Catholic who has either worked or volunteered with the Catholic Church — and who is an open supporter of the president.
Nicholas D. SawickiApril 12, 2021
The Vatican conference will seek to move away from a theology of the priesthood based on ‘ecclesiastical power’ toward one rooted in the priesthood of all believers conferred at baptism.