Of Ithaca & Ice

By Ann K. Schwader

I said I would wait, & I meant it:

crossed over

the morning your ship launched,

chilled blood river

slow through the cave of my veins as a whisper

lost on the ferryman's lips.

You sailed to the stars out there,

to their wars

& Helens in harlot bronze.

I wandered the asphodel stars that wake

in the fields of heroes & gods.

Unweaving my dreams each century,

I praised you in the present tense

to all who sought me,

a second obol

secret beneath my tongue.

You said you would come, & you did:

bright dust

of a hundred worlds

on your feet & the scent

of nameless Calypsos like victors' laurels

immortal in your hair.

My eyes still kept that morning,

their history

brief & blue & quiet.

Yours echoed with an epic blindness

too large to hold one heart.

Tonight I will swallow half my fare

& answer the asphodel glance of one

whose face is lit

with the flames of cities,

whose arms are warmer than yours.


Ann K. Schwader lives, writes, and corgi-walks in Westminster, CO. Her dark SF poetry collection Wild Hunt of the Stars recently appeared from Sam's Dot Publishing. Her work has been published in Mythic Delirium, Tales of the Unanticipated, Goblin Fruit, and elsewhere. She is a member of SFWA, HWA, and SFPA. Her LiveJournal is Yaddith Times, and you can see more of her work in our archives.