Michael Ault

Penelope (In the Act)

Think of Penelope performing at her loom,
an elegantly constructed, deconstructed
avoidance of the inevitable, day after night
until . . . she must have been pleased
with herself, with her cunning wit,
with her deception--yet
panicked underneath, nervous
with the fear of being found out.
Would not the thread wear thin
with time and cease to cooperate?
And what if, a probable possibility,
she was caught in the act?
Maybe then the whole unfolding of dialogue,
its harrowing effects from power
and momentum changing hands,
its exploitation, its capitalizing
upon another's lapse and surrender
would flicker faintly (almost relieved)
or slightly alter the look of things before
continuing, incapable of termination.

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