Penelope Reweaves

by Ann K. Schwader

Beginning with the shroud she claimed, but now
her own — a pallid winding up of days
one long grave at a time — she chooses shades
to match the faded hair, the eyes that strained
across a wine-dark lie of swift return
until they spilled libations in the dust
for deaf gods not to answer.
                                            Brighter hues
inspire a tapestry of blood & fire
from Ilium to Ithaca until
a feast-hall overflows with ghosts, the last
unfaithful maid greets Charon with a kiss
to cool her swollen tongue, & Grey-Eyes smiles
the way she only does when slaughter rates
the name of art.
                            Now with her final skeins
— unbleached, still virgin — stretched across a frame
of shifting shadows, she creates a sail
to catch the sacred wind that lifts the dust
of graves & days away from shore . . . & now
herself as well, past sunset on a wave
of sirens while some god-pawn wanderer
keeps shouldering his oar & trudging on.

Ann K. Schwader lives, writes, and volunteers at her local branch library in Westminster, CO. Her most recent collection of poems, Twisted in Dream, appeared in December 2011 from Hippocampus Press. Her previous collection, Wild Hunt of the Stars (Sam's Dot 2010), was a Bram Stoker Award finalist. When not writing, she collects all things H.P. Lovecraft, grows (mostly) non-poisonous herbs, and attempts to study Middle Egyptian hieroglyphs.

When asked of what poem the word "cherry" immediately makes her think, she replied as follows: "This is probably an English major cliché of the most tiresome sort, but the word 'cherry' immediately brings to mind 'Loveliest of Trees' by A.E. Housman."

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