Aubade with an Unfinished Sentence

            “It is easy enough
            to make cedar and white ash fumes
            into palaces
            and to cover the sea-caves
            with ivory and onyx.” – “Circe,” H. D.

He asks why Circe turned Odysseus’
crew back into men after turning
them to pigs, and you think
for a moment in the darkness
of your room, picturing
the Waterhouse painting, Circe
on a golden throne, her feet bare,
holding forth a cup of poison
to the man who enters. You want
to get the details right, but you’re
talking around the two Old
Fashioneds you just drank
at Moody’s Pub down the street,
the glass of bourbon on your
nightstand that you’re sharing now,
and all you say is “Circe fell in love
with Odysseus, but then—”
and you can’t or don’t finish
the sentence, feel it hanging
in a silence you do nothing
to break. Instead of considering
what more to say about Circe,
about the intervention of the gods,
you’re realizing how apt an ending
“but then” really is, for this, and so
much else. And the next morning,
when you’re sitting on a bench
at the Thorndale Avenue Beach,
watching the sun spear its way
out of clouds, you think again
of those words, that silence.

Jen Finstrom is an adjunct instructor at DePaul University in the Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse Department and is also Outreach Coordinator at DePaul’s University Center for Writing-based Learning (UCWbL). She was the poetry editor of Eclectica Magazine for thirteen years, and recent publications include Gingerbread House Literary Magazine, MockingHeart Review, and Red Eft Review, with work forthcoming in Thimble. Her work also appears in Silver Birch Press’s Ides: A Collection of Poetry Chapbooks.

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