Chris Bridge, from issue No. 85

After Homer

Dawn comes early with rosy fingers,
but Odysseus has gone, his ships and crew –
and if Athene were to reappear
she’d be another pretty girl
who walks alone with sun-bleached hair.
Zeus is a restaurant and Hades
the hell-hole down the road where
Brits hang out. The map’s the same.
This sea still drowns its refugees.

Dawn comes early with sticky fingers
and a boat trip to the secluded beach.
No heroes, purposes or sacred oaths –
instead libations of sun lotion poured
against our own obsessions.
The Lotus Eaters get their fix elsewhere
and monsters, alter ego of the Gods,
take human form, much harder to defeat.
Cruise ships eclipse even Poseidon’s reach.

Dawn comes early with itchy fingers
and with the sense it might be preferable
to slot a mast into its leather hold,
unfurl the sails and quietly slip away –
no GPS, no radio; standing tall,
riding sea rhythms to an unknown end
one hand on salted wood,
the other shading eyes that scan
across this crumpled wine-dark sea.