Calypso, On Shore

Claire HM


Once you’ve given it all, all, away
it can’t be taken back. On the rocks
his broad chest sunken, Odysseus weeps
for his wife. The freedom Penelope
served him was meaty hunks he gorged upon.
He craves her smallness. How big she made him
feel. My deep, salty cave is a prison
to him and I grow tired of pouring my-
self out to make men whole. I wasn’t born
despairing. This is my punishment.
Descended from an older race of Gods –
not worshipped like Olympians up on
their distant mount, but knuckle deep in soil,
in sea, in time. My father, not welcoming
those la di dahs those Gods of mind and cunning
now holds the heavens on his wet back
his stinking burden to split heaven
from earth. My burden for his support,
this island, this deep cave, this golden loom,
my only company washed on the shores
wounded, lost. This one who weeps is not
so special but he has favour with the Sky
Gods. My youth was long and I was flecked
with gold. My eyes, my skin, my voice. Golden
yet not made of gold. I was mistaken
for a Goddess, still I age. Slowly. My youth
was long, but middle age yawns wider.
Dusk falls like ash. Crows roost in the crotches
of fig trees. Now I’ve given my all
away, there’s nothing. He must go back.


Claire HM teaches English and literacy to refugee and migrant communities in Birmingham, UK. She has studied Gender, Education and Creative Writing as a postgrad. Alongside her writing Claire’s biggest passions are tarot, intersectional feminism and kitchen witchery. A long time ago her poetry appeared in the Rialto and Magma. She hangs out too much at Instagram @claireylove