Post Road Magazine #26

Song of Argos

Derek Sheffield

Where are the hands that fed me when I was good?
Those knuckles I licked clean of meat grease?
Odysseus taught me to hunt for him
and that's what I've done for twenty years.
The gods know no dog should live so long.
When the suitors blew their drunken horns, I broke
from the pack and wandered these hills
and mazes of olive trees, scattering deer
for wind, hounding moon and sand for him.

Once I dug three days toward Hades,
bent on biting his fair heel
to drag him back from those mobs of heroes
among the Asphodel, those sapless flowers
in pallid bloom. And twice I woke
howling at the scent of his sweaty breastplate
confused with the slick reek of divine thighs.

Too stiff to search any longer, lying
among heaps of mule shit and eyeing
the beggar who crows at each bone striking
my side, I hear a droning fate nibble
my scabrous hide. At his sandal's scrape,
before I die, I will twitch and whine
and peel back my lips from yellow teeth.
With those hands that scratched my every worry,
grabbed and pulled me muzzle close,
master will stab, slit, bash, and splinter.
Together we'll eat the guts of his revenge.


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