Telemachus at 50

by Diana Goetsch

Diana Goetsch

My father? I’m tired of the subject.
But you keep asking, so here’s a story:
when I was small he used to take me sailing
out behind the house in a little skiff.
Each time we reached the mouth of the harbor
I’d stand and point and ask,“What’soverthere?”
He’d just turn for home without a word.
My father never taught me things that matter—
how to read the trades or trim the sails,
to outrun storms or else steer into them.
I learned haphazardly from old pirates,
gamblers and ne’er-do-wells, and I learned late,
and I never had much of a ship. But somehow
I managed to see the world with my own eyes,
lands where the light itself is a different color,
shining on girls with iridescent skin,
where fruit falls from astounding heights and tastes
peppery, and their gods are full of fiery joy,
and toy-like coins jangle in my pockets
as I keep wandering this amazing world.
No treasure for the heart that stays in the harbor—my
Father may have known that — I don’t know.
Now you tell me he’s near, and proud of me?
He’s proud of who exactly? And who is he?

Last updated November 30, 2022