Sunday, 20 May 2012

The Penelope Letters

Letter from a waking dream, Ulysses. I move slowly through my days, like the idea of exile, like a wise virgin husbanding her oil. The silence of the house is brimming over. I walk barefoot across your floors, fancying I feel the swell of the sea beneath my feet.

There must be a last time for everything, I think. I just never recognised ours when it came. If I'd known then as I to waved you from the quayside glittering with fish, how many days would slip under themselves, would I have made more of it? Would I have noticed the crashing silence of it, would I have seen the slow-motion disaster? Would I have felt it stop my heart right then and there?

Instead after a perfectly ordinary kiss, I turned back and so I  never saw an entire future blurred by tears,  did not feel a sense of a thread lost, a footing missed, the sudden drench of knowing that nothing would ever be the same. These things came to me much later, in my dreams, as I tried in vain to recapture the moment before you left to see what else I could have done.

The suitors have taken to telling tales about you to keep me company, your intelligence and your consummate strength. This is what the past can do, reform you, reinvent you, retrieve you from the vast sea of forgetting, collecting just enough story for a funeral breakfast.

Each day the day dawns again.  Each day I shake off the waking dreams of your boat. I tell myself, as I am telling you, there is progress. It is provisional. Each day we are moving towards each other, making our way home.


The copyright of this blog belongs to Claire Steele

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