Odysseus Buying Groceries

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Every two weeks,
another adventure requires
your courage
and mine.
A loyal partner, I help you prepare
not with helmet, shield, and sword,
but with hat, mask, gloves,
a pack of wipes and hand gel,
not Troy, but the grocery store,
your destination and battlefield.

And, like Penelope, I worry
for your return, wonder what
gods’ gifts and curses
you will meet, the unmasked
coughing foes, virally pawing
the produce and goods
on your list,
mindlessly veering into
your space. But you
are wily and wise;
this gives me
solace.

As your car sails away
down the undulating drive,
I nudge open the necessary doors
just so, for your return:
the cats cannot exit, but you
can enter with a knee,
no touching required
to get you to the shoe drop,
the grocery drop,
the holding place.

And then I prepare the washer
for your clothing,
with soap and settings ready
and this door opened, too;
odd, how many doors
we open and close
every day, trying to
control what comes;
what leaves,
what’s touched
and untouched.

I make certain the light
is on
in the bathroom,
pull aside the shower curtain
so virus and fear can be
safely
contained and
drowned.

I go upstairs and wait,
no child to protect or raise,
but sweet companions who bark
when you leave and
when UPS trucks, not suitors
arrive.

I don’t know what Penelope really
did all day, awaiting
Odysseus’ return,
other than serve men,
string them along,
put them off; it makes me yawn to
imagine 20 years of
that.
Old Woman Rolls Eyes.

I do yoga, the asanas
for now, for when
our own lives
feel foreign:
Bending Old Woman With Immune Disorders;
Spine Twist for Averting the Newscast;
Joyful Stretch to Celebrate New Tea Delivery;
Yoga Breathing in Midst of Multiple Crises;
The World is Ending Grief Pose.

Or, I weed in the garden,
and imagine your journey,
aisle by aisle, the way you
bag the treasures,
choose the safest
check-out line,
pay without contact,
remove your gloves,
use your wipes on
the door handle,
load the car,
drive through the rolling hills
enjoying the summer’s day,
your mask pulled down,
perhaps the window open,
free
as free can be.

Homeward.

Rounding the curve of the cemetery,
Perhaps you stop for a stroll,
hear from the dead about the last
time a virus swept through. That
time it gathered
the young,
green with dreams.
Maybe Tiresias would
pull out his phone,
show you a video of
me, in the asana Anxious Woman
Waits for Husband
During Pandemic. “Good thing
you found her favorite
kombucha,” he’d predict.
Correctly.

Back in the car, you’d nibble
on some treat or other,
your lotus leaves,
and drift into blissful
forgetting, remembering
only crowds, restaurants,
touching anything,
doorknobs, handles,
groceries,
people.

The dogs hear your car
a quarter mile from home,
and begin barking as though
you’d been away for
20 years.
I hear you enter, bags rustling,
cans and boxes, glass and plastic
plunder of groceries set
on the quarantine table.

I listen, and see you in my heart:
you pad to the laundry room
the washer door bangs;
you cross the basement
the shower sings,
raining on tile
and you,
holy water, blessed soap,
virus and fear
contained and
drowned.

The world is worth
what we must do
to survive:
we adapt; we
grow; we hope and we
sail beyond what
we have known
and settle there,
seeking, finding beauty
and peace, explorers
aged and brave.

You do not have to
prove yourself; you cannot
disguise who you are,
emerging from the basement
I know you; I will love you
forever,
my naked, towel-wrapped
hero, another
perilous journey over,
welcome,
welcome home.

 

© Copyright of all visual and written materials on The Daily Round belongs solely to Catherine M. O’Meara, 2011-Present. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited, without the author’s written approval. No one is authorized to use Catherine O’Meara’s copyrighted material for material gain without the author’s engagement and written permission. All other visual, written, and linked materials are credited to their authors. Thank you, and gentle peace.

15 thoughts on “Odysseus Buying Groceries

  1. Words escape me. You have written our life, but I’m the shopper. My husband awaits my return and has everything in place, to wash the groceries, and me. Thank you so much, I enjoyed your words so much. Keep it up you are an inspiration.

    1. Yes! The washing of the fresh produce, too! So many steps to remember and each is important. I certainly will hold your safe journeys in my heart. Stay well and safe, and thank you so much for your kindness in visiting and sharing. Gentle Peace.

  2. Oh, my; thank you so much for taking time to visit and offer your very kind comments, my friend. It’s so kind of you, and greatly appreciated. I hope you are well and safe, and that your grocery procurement is as peaceful and safe as possible. xoxo

  3. I, like your husband, go out properly “armored”, at times of day where there are not too many people, with my list in the order I pass things in my route through the store. Wipe everything down as it comes in, put away, decontaminate behind that … crazy. But hey, so far, so good! My little town of 1,200 people has only had 5 cases since March and no deaths. You can look outside at any time – people are doing what they should be. So yes, as peaceful and safe as possible. Thanks and you, too, Kitty.

  4. Yes, what strange new rituals, but, for me, they’re new sacraments for honoring our own and others’ lives. I wish I could relieve Phillip and take turns at this, but I’m the one with autoimmune disease, so, again, he’s my hero. I sure admire your courage, and your town’s willingness to comply with safety and logic. Hooray! May you and your community stay well and safe. xoxo

  5. We certainly do have a lot of new rituals these strange days! It’s the same here re the shopping, although now John just collects it from the car park so at least doesn’t have to go into the store. I loved this, brilliantly written, as always! Love and hugs to all.xxx

    1. I’m so glad John doesn’t have to go into the store. That’s wonderful and such a good idea. Numbers are going up here, so we’re eating from the garden and our canned things for now. Hoping people will upgrade their logical thinking about masks. xoxox Love and hugs to both of you and the menagerie.

  6. Yes, I saw the increase in America, why can’t people be sensible??? Our beaches are packed tight with people who don’t self-distance and leave tons of trash behind. Shame on them on both counts! Here’s to your garden providing you with a bumper crop, thank god for gardens eh?xxx

    1. Well, we’ll hunker down and stay safe together/apart. Cheers to the Liverpool title, if it made you happy!

      Have a lovely week’s end! Xoxo 😘

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