Thin Denver air threatens
his lungs, until he relents
by ducking into a coffee house.
On stage, a parade of teenagers
read scrawled, rhyming lines
about their pain, and he wonders
what happened to the epic poem.
Where are the stories that matter
to more than just the voices
singing them into existence?
After the reading, he notices
everyone behind the counter
crowded around a television
on which a serious looking man
tells of a ship’s captain
captured by pirates, until
a daring rescue freed him.
Footage shows the captain reuniting
with his wife, and Odysseus thinks
of Penelope, who fears adventure
but would still love
the rolling motion of waves
as she held him close
to keep from falling off the world.