All thanks to Christine for her use of her Charitable In-Box for Wayward Creative Writing Students, and to Ian for his gung-ho willingness to wade through my revisions.
He has told no one his story, but I already know it.
He is Odysseus, our cunning Champion! But in this world,
After restless wanderings through desperate taverns and roads’ end motels,
He awakes tossed upon a forlorn shore and finally understands:
There is no Penelope. There is no Ithaca.
He landed here tonight, a washed-up old salt
Who now meekly sips hot chocolate, smokes a cigarette, and
Dreams of a distant port-of-call where he met a woman
Long ago who told him something about love he’s now forgotten.
His reverie is battered by the churning chaos of café conversations–
An auditory Charybdis splashing from so many satisfied mouths.
The door’s bell cries complacently and the night’s gaping jaws
Swallow him until his hunched silhouette, solitary,
Becomes but a snow-obscured spectre
Haunting the warm reflections of contented patrons.