Penelope's Bed

by Karen Berry

It has roots, not feet, it lives.
But what feeds it? Soil, not love,
and all the other children
we never made, bled away
on that red hide. You've made
leather of me, too. For twenty
years of wandering, I was
alone and awake, waiting,
tearing out my work and hair
while our son became a man.
Did you think of me, other than
to wonder over your honor?
I kept it as mine. It is my own.
Me and this bed you trapped,
walled in this crypt of a chamber.
Here's my secret. At night
I spoke to it, watered it with
my tears, apologized for your
eternal diversion, your wandering
which denied this tree, like me,
fruit. It held me as you never did.
And now you're here, returned,
come home to celebrate,
clothed in glamor, ready for the
festive love of our marriage bed.
Come to us, wanderer, come
to the roots, the wood, the bark,
come home to this cradle of skin.

Karen Berry lives and works in Portland, Oregon with various daughters and dogs. Her poetry is published all over the place and her novel endeavors continue. As an erstwhile English major, the word "cherry" makes her think of the poem "Cherry-ripe" by Thomas Campion.

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