Jacques J. Rancourt's work has recently appeared or is forthcoming from Allegheny Review, Cimarron Review, and Rumble, among other journals, and has been anthologized in Dzanc's Best of the Web 2008. He is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
A helix of gull squall all drove & dip plucks Odysseus like a harp. Fastened to a mast on a ship riding shelves, he meditates on Penelope dressed in doves. Through the mad flutter & oar spiral the thick-necked sirens sing naked on the pocked shore. In this variation the sirens are men, their bodies spread open like oysters, opal sheen revealing the gray flesh of what he never knew he wanted, his chest a swarm of Pollock. They reach for Odysseus who reaches, his wrists bruising against cords. Now the sea is prodded by seals, now his boys wheel paddles overhead, brine splattering their shirtlessness, Odysseus’s feet curling into questions. Clutched mast, drywood splinters, his blood flowing freely now. He loosens an unheard song left swelling in his chest, a music box the wind tips open —