The Works of Molly Elizabeth Fels
Molly Elizabeth Fels is a medical student from New York City. She is at work on a novel, and her poetry is also forthcoming in the inaugural issue of Thirteen Ways Magazine. She can be reached on twitter @mzfels.
All Poems © Molly Elizabeth Fels
The Lotus Eaters
I will never know what I am supposed to say when
you ask me if I think that you are
anything more than your neurons, or muscles.
It’s true that I have on what might look like
the white robe of prayer
that the lotus-eaters are wearing
when they wade into the river.
But you seem to think there is more that
I am not saying
when I bring you these cups of water
with straws in them so you don’t have to
lift your head from where it hangs
with your chin touching your chest.
Sure. I suppose it’s an offering.
I see the women lifting water in their cupped hands
when they have shed their robes and when
they shear their hair, and let it float away in the current.
I could pray with them, too
though my soul
could be cleaner.
Yesterday, I gathered the rest
of the flowers you gave me
and walked them down to the river
where they will wait for you,
if you are ever coming back.
My hands are not practiced at stillness
they worry the stems
shedding pollen as I walk, my dress
from last year and the year before, short now at the knees.
At least the hem
won't get wet
when we wade in.
We used to throw breadcrumbs to ducks here;
we never thought of the waste.
Today, I turned up the soil in the garden.
This year we are using the roses for compost, so
we can grow food instead.
We are hungry, and I've lost interest
in picking off the petals one by one, as if they knew.