The Homecoming

by Manuel Rivas

For Lois Pereiro

In Ithaca everyone was dead.
They say it was me, Argos the dog, who woke first:
                   — Dead, dead, dead!
A smell stronger than dung,
the smell of a living man,
made me vomit celestial remains,
cloud-bones,
rainbow-hides.
That man who reeked of legend,
a twitching skeleton,
a bad-tempered ghost,
ripped open the scar with his nails
and smeared the mired shadows with words
There were our names. All of them.
And the infallible memory of the trees
in Laertes’ orchard.
Half a hundred rows of vines,
thirteen pear trees,
ten apple trees,
forty fig trees.
The blind old man saw, in the end, his son, thanks to the earth’s
                   algebra.
After, Odysseus
came and woke us one by one
and our tears, since then,
are the rope that binds the light
with a violent joy.