By Laura Manuelidis

He comes home the hero
     but there is no one to greet him.
The streets are empty except for unlit lampposts
     and the blue balloons of illusions
           with no string to hold them down, disappearing
or popping like expected accidents
     on spears of wrought iron fences.

Down the promenade of salt no brassy trumpets strut saluting
     the fife and tin soldier drums
          in early summer’s tinsel: our winning memorial days.

Instead, a serpentine shadow
Floods past the intersections where honking cars
     and gaily-colored pedestrians were supposed to be cheering.

Odysseus continues to walk on, alone.
His skin hangs rough and warty, like the toads:
     and so he has become invisible;
Only the blind would call him beautiful now
     or his wife, who has difficulty lifting herself from bed
Equally old as the rosy fingered dawn.