“THUS DID WE CONVERSE”

νῶι μὲν ὣς ἐπέεσσιν ἀμειβόμεθ᾽, αἱ δὲ γυναῖκες
ἤλυθον, ὤτρυνεν γὰρ ἀγαυὴ Περσεφόνεια,
ὅσσαι ἀριστήων ἄλοχοι ἔσαν ἠδὲ θύγατρες.

-Homer, Odyssey, Book 11, Line 225

i am not a greek god and you are not the spring maiden
i remember your look of surprise and disappointment
in the sun beside the river when i said stupid things

i remember the strong winds and low clouds
forming so abruptly as we drove back to town
i was embarrassed but you were composed

the storm was becoming dark and powerful
i dropped you off on a side street near your home
but not at the exact location of your home

the wind whipped your hair as we stood in the road
you were gracious and accepted some canned wine
only after i insisted that you take it with you

you first demurred but i overcame your objections
when i said “i cant bring it home with me”
and we both understood what that meant i think

god i am so vain and inconstant and disappointing
i miss you terribly all the time much more than i expected
i feel so lonely and disinterested with everyone

do you feel that way too sometimes?
i am not asking for anything and i am grateful
for your resolve and virtue that far exceed mine

do you remember when we were going for a walk downtown
and we kept running into some giant construction site?
i think about that day alot and it seems funny and cute

a bit on-the-nose that we were only trying to walk together
but could not overcome the obstacles of the world
i dont want to speak in metaphors or anything like that

but i cannot think of words to describe how i feel
what is the word for sadness due to innocent fate?
i am asking because you are il miglior fabbro

i am definitely not a greek hero but i am subject to a similar
type of foolishness and hubris that feels classically tragic
and i would not call any of this a tragedy but///

idk

— Wallace Barker lives in Austin, Texas. He has been published in Neutral Spaces Magazine, Misery Tourism and Back Patio Press. His full-length poetry collection “La Serenissima” is available from Gob Pile Press. More of his work can be found at wallacebarker.com.