The Tapestry, The Telephone, Telemachus
This thing I make I take apart at night.
My son heads for the door. The telephone
is silent. Days go by, and nights bright
with the stars. I work the golden wires
around the eye. I add the blue, like sky,
and pull the wires around the eye
into the background. What I weave in
I take apart at night. Necessarily my son
has left: adolescent years at home do not permit
a self, and grubby youngsters aren’t yet
interesting, though we care worlds for them.
He says goodbye, but stops to give advice
and warn of pride. I can’t imagine why.
Mindful of the Fates, I slip
my scissors under skeins of yarn, the soft
threads and the gold. I pick them out
at night, waiting for the phone
man. Weeks go by, and years. My son’s
shade at the door is taller, leaner, and more
browner, his head a thicket curling. No rams—
that’s a story from another time
and other people. The phone is silent.
When young my son would slam the door
and shake the house. I’d shout
but it was pointless. One day he stopped.
I don’t know why. The telephone is silent.
Days do as they must—go by.
The eye’s the color of our local sea, shot through
with gold. No doors slam. The crowd outside
heaves like oceans, swells. It tries
my patience. They all come bearing gifts.
Finally the phone truck stops outside, the man
rings at the door. The bird’s eye dulls
with ringing. My son is far from here.
The work is blue and round and gold
as sun, with strands of red and brown
and leafy-green. My son phones
from his car—it’s red and fast and low:
of course he loves it. He’s in a place
beyond those on our maps. I wonder
if he’s with his father. Bored positively
unto death, I nap. I do this work and suffer
years of repetition. The bird is finished
and the branch. I miss my son and want
to know who he is now, grown, and if
he has a woman. Oh, he must! The phone
is still. Would I like her? I’ve closed
the heavy door on my familiar Attic light,
the smoky braziers, throngs spitting olive pits
and roasting goats—the stench! I don’t cry
anymore. Silent now, soon the bird will fly
off into song: Cassandra said. Probably
they won’t return, the father or the son.
I work days, and take out most of what I do at night.
Deena Linett’s novel, What Winter Means, won the Grassic Short Novel Prize from Evening Street Press and Translucent When Fired: Poems New & Selected appeared from Tiger Bark Press were published in 2017.