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for the Midland School in Los Olivos
No one told me I would be sitting
across the table from Deyanira, number
two wife of Hercules, the name her parents
assigned her. Sitting in her classroom
at the foot of Grass Mountain,
a dry Olympus. Where the gods
wear masks of spiders and snakes,
the dead drum their Chumash bones.
No one gave me a heads up, across the road
supplicants still come to the gates
of Neverland, to leave notes to his
ghost, songs of allegations and love.
Everything that happened that was done.
Isn’t a poem where we name horses
and women, where a goddess is saved
from rape by a god? Blood is
a river, even in this drought.
I want to assign you, too, a line you can
dream on and then write.
You can bring to class tomorrow
when I am gone. Imagine you were
named for a goddess like Deyanira
gazing out the window, thinking
of that boy across the road, that young
man, writing his note, honoring the living
dead, hat-tilted, one-gloved, dancing
his moon walk.
Copyright 2017 Gary Margolis
A vineyard in Los Olivos, California