After Odysseus and Calypso, a painting by Max Beckman
Once there were heroes--
men (always men)
a cut above ourselves, stronger and shrewder.
One such man, Odysseus,
dallied with the sorceress Calypso,
yet kept his humanity, while his crew
succumbed to her magic,
becoming swine, losing their power of speech.
Centuries later, the painter Beckman
casts doubt on this view.
Calypso lays her white hands
on his chest, working a spell.
Their legs tangle like tree roots.
Odysseus looks human,
except for his penis, the width
and length of an anaconda.
No hero, he is manacled,
tethered by his genitals to earth,
an animal among other animals.