Song of Kalypso

Baia delle Zagare coastline of Gargano, Italy

No chance your mortal bride can thrill you as I do.
Awe-slapped, your lips hung loose at your first sight of me.
She’s dusky, dried-up; I’m all gold, with breasts as smooth
as apples in your mouth, or swimming naked in the sea.

And yet your eyes still howl with longing for her when
you shut your ears to my bewitching melody.
I mystify your limbs and mind again. Again
you wake and want your pitiful Penelope.

You’ve no idea how long my skin was touched only
by wind; how time proves endless whenever you’re alone;
how your flushed body, slick–but tricked–still left me lonely;
and how, these seven years, I’ve both denied and known:

The only way to keep you is to let you suffer.
The only way to love you is to let you love her.


Mary Romero’s work has appeared in Birmingham Poetry Review, Slant, and Blue Mountain Review among other journals; and her chapbook Philoxenia was the recipient of the Luci Shaw prize. Mary lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee where she works as a teacher, deacon, writer and mother of two lovely hooligans.