When he first arrives, the salt water in the air becomes more tangible.
The ocean rises and falls with a lull that shifts beneath your foot step,
The wind whispers back to you
he’s coming, he’s coming, he’s coming, hushed and secretive,
So you wait, and when the bow hits shore you are unmoved.
A mast towers high above you, and all else but the thudding in your chest is still.
The island pushes you forward, forward forward forward until you’re running fingers over its sides and its energy permeates in thick waves rolling around you- and all you can see is him.
The ship tastes of his hardship, of war and victory and something so much worse, tastes of ache and desperation and blood. You press your palm against that ship and you can feel every piece of his life, and it is more than you yourself have felt in centuries-
You have been alone for so long. You yearn for more of it, cling to every ounce of mortal emotion that you can grasp.
Then, just like that, you see him, laying on display on the deck and for a minute you are convinced that he is dead, but his breath comes steady in rolling waves and you are paralyzed in your place.
The sun blazes down on the both of you, the island begins to sway, the conch shells tapping and clicking against grains of sand, you hear the anticipation ricocheting, and you swear to the heavens that every tree begins to breathe all at once and-
He startles awake, you stumble back.
He is dazed and sleep ridden, but it does not take him long to come to his senses. He jumps up, alert, and frantic, you go unnoticed.
He peers out across the ocean, surveying his surroundings, and the furrow pinching his brows betrays him- the urge to smooth it out is unbearable. You reach for him.
“Stranger,” you say, he startles, “I’m afraid you seem to have been lost. You have arrived on the island of Ogygia,”
You reach for his hand, he turns to you, suspicious but not untrusting.
“And who might you be?” his voice is a soft whisper, it rumbles in your ribcage and ricochets across your skin.
“My name is Calypso, this is my island. And whose presence might I have the honor of holding now?”
You smile sweetly at him, and his shoulders sag.
“My name is Odysseus, ruler of Ithaca, it is of great pleasure to meet you, Calypso.”
He takes your hand,
All feels right.
The island is less lonely,
Sometimes, when he’s sleeping, she hums to you,
She says that she is happy,
And you are always inclined to agree.
In the day, he tells you of his perils, of the ocean waves and the way they’ve swallowed him whole, hollowed out belly of a water-bound grave.
Once in a while, he speaks of his wife-
He does not tell you her name.
He tells you of his ache for home,
And you know that kind of hunger.
Before him, it swallowed you alive,
After all, this island is more parts sentience than home,
More parts lonely than yours.
In the night, you belong to him. Under bed sheets and tangled in the mess of it all,
Nothing voiced, only desperation and need and desire.
He only tells you he loves you here,
Once the candles have burnt out and he is only spent and exhaustion,
You know it is not true,
But you like to pretend sometimes. That kind of thing makes you feel whole.
In this, you find routine.
When he asks to go home,
Your bones swell with panic.
The ocean tide roars back Make him stay, Make him stay, Make him stay
So you kiss him.
You press yourself against him, and beg, beg for him and more and staying,
And he kisses back.
By year 4, he seldom speaks of another life.
He stops saying I love you,
But he kisses you open-mouthed, hot and needy and you try not to think about it.
This is what you’re good for, if not for use than what? If not for your body, then what for? Your heart? Your mind? Power?
There is nothing else.
So you pull him closer at night, hold him when you can,
And when he’s done he leaves.
In the morning, you do not speak of it.
In this, you find a rythm.
On year 7,
He leaves you behind.
You’d be lying if you said you hadn’t seen it coming.
The island wails, and weeps and asks you
Make him stay.
Do not let him go,
We are so lonely.
Your bones only ache, and you taste bitter in your mouth.
You hear him say her name,
And you carve it into the trunk of every tree on the land.
He tries to kiss you as he leaves and you push him back.
“I am sorry,” He says “But she needs me.”
But you don’t, right?
You do not look at him.
“She has remained faithful all this time…. I must return to her.” He says,
And you remember every night spent casting shadows in the candlelight on his bedside.
Before he goes, you take hold of his wrist, and you swear to the gods the contact sizzles.
“I hope that you taste me on her tongue every night you spend together, Odysseus of Ithaca, you are a cursed and hungry man, and one day she will realize this. Tell her where to find me when she does.”
And you are nothing