Gingerbread House Lit Mag

Penelope Considers a Facelift

I wear the crown of faithfulness.
Look in a dictionary for the word and there I am.
So I waited twenty years for a husband
who deserted me for the wars
then ended up traveling the world
like one long road trip with his muscle boys.
I waited while they messed around
with storms and sirens and spirits.

Big deal.

You think it was easy having
all those dudes hanging around
(over 100 I heard)
wanting to take up where Odysseus left off,
gorging on his dwindling flock,
swigging from his cherished cup,
belching and snoring from every room
while I chilled,
watching their moony eyes and lovesick smiles,
just waiting to jump my bones.

Eventually I had to get tricky though
use all my wits, be careful, patient.
I said I’d marry one of them when
I finished weaving this death shroud.
Day after day I sat at my loom
twining lies and wiles into the warp,
then unraveling those same threads every night.

For three years I wove and then unwove that shroud,
holding off the suitors with my tricks,
living on no sleep,
sneaking around at all hours
quiet as a winter moon,
my fingers harping the still air.

You’d think I’d be known for things
other than loyalty and devotion,
maybe a sharp mind,
cunning thought, resourceful skills,
even for being one clever chickie.

Instead I’m frozen at this open window,
knees crossed,
darkness approaching,
forever torching a candle called virtue.

Allison Thorpe

Allison Thorpe is the author of several collections of poems, most recently What She Sees: Poems for Georgia O’Keefe (White Knuckle Press) and Dorothy’s Glasses (forthcoming from Finishing Line Press). A Pushcart nominee, she has appeared in Appalachian Heritage, Meat for Tea, Big River Poetry Review, MacGuffin, Black Fox Literary Magazine, South85 Journal, and Scapegoat Review, among others.

Artwork: Alex Kirzhner, “Spreading Lies”

This entry was published on October 25, 2015 at 12:07 am and is filed under 15 (October 2015), Poetry. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.
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