Roundabout

Chad Davidson

As Odysseus finds his portal
to the underworld,

delivers his libations, I kill time
just down the shore,

a page or two away, in the blur
the book becomes

after taking off my glasses.
Such trouble seeing,

Tiresias must think, and why
Odysseus goes there.

Once I almost killed some folks is not
a known beginning

to any passage of the Odyssey,
though in Anzio,

just south of Rome, I almost did.
Rental car. Mist and night.

I had been drinking is sort of how
the Greek bard starts

his tale, and how I almost ended
everything.

You don’t come back from that,
is probably what,

watching Odysseus set out,
Circe thought.

I thought the guy would kill me.
He earned that

dispensation, I suppose, from whatever
held my car

a second in the roundabout.
Not one blemish

on the bright red scooter ferrying them
right up to the edge

of my last night in Italy, and far beyond.
I cannot see beyond that

bright non-tragedy, and yet
return again, again

in mist, unlike the hero, man
of many turns,

who beholds his mother’s shade
in Erebus,

and three times tries to grasp her,
to earn his passage home.

Chad Davidson is the author of From the Fire Hills. His work appears in AGNI, Five Points, Gettysburg Review, Kenyon Review, and others. He is professor of literature and creative writing at the University of West Georgia and co-directs Convivio, a summer writing conference in Postignano, Italy.
Originally published:
November 1, 2017

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