Penelope Instructs Her Husband
on the Nature of the Sea

I am not a sailor, Odysseus,
and what I know of the sea,
if folded in half, could live
in your palm like a splinter:
beyond the harbor, the sea
is vast and delicious and
my name echoes beneath
the wavecrest like birdsong.
A heart’s dull thrum, in time,
loosens the shipbuilder’s
surest union. A gull’s call
awaits no answer. Silence
is refused even in moonlight.
And to be carried over
will not be enough—
to be delivered whole we must
first survive ourselves.

Kristine Uyeda is a Kundiman fellow whose work has appeared in Cyphers, Rattle, and The Asian Pacific American Journal. (

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761