Elpenor Waits for No-Man

after George Dvorsky

We linger on, past living memory, past caring, full charged yet with long discarded crimes. Reversed, we see the future ever clearer as the past grows dimmer still; live in the what-will-be more strongly than the what-has-been.

How sweet this wine; how richly savored, how heavy with perfume! We grew dry, we grew dry: to wet our throats again, to grow greener in ourselves — we bear these marks of human weakness.


We sank fathoms deep into the earth, curled tightly inward and impatient, denied the entelechy we had been promised. The white heat of fulfillment drowned among the sodden Belgian fields. Do you wonder, who have had the mercy of forgetting, that we should press so close upon you, still so insistent and so hungry? Do you wonder at our mindful need?

We will pass again into memory, and thence to nothing. But in this moment — here upon the memory of a trench — we slip beyond your swords and feed.