The part of you that’s Ulysses
sways listless against the mast,
forgets sleep for song,
neither right side nor left
against the sheet any difference.
Here is a thing you chose
like the seat on the bus
where the cold vent blows
right on you, the handrail you touched,
words you spoke as thoughtless
as a virus.
It’s like the tickle in your throat
that explodes to leave you teary and wretched
after you’ve struggled and struggled
to contain it—that thought
that rests in your mind
soon as the light’s gone out,
strategy and plan that lash
themselves to memory, siren hours
from the night.
You pretend these voices are other
than they are, forget you know
how to swim in the red clouds
that would rise behind your eyelids
if only you could see them,
if only you stop your ears from the song
that you yourself are singing.