Home > Issues > Issue 55:1 Teaser: “Rip Tide” by Rebecca Rustin
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With our Fall Issue (55:1) set to arrive in mailboxes soon, we thought we’d give you a little taste of what’s to come in our latest issue. If you don’t have a subscription to PRISM, you can purchase one today at our web store!


RIP TIDE

by Rebecca Rustin

Zeus claims you keep beside you a most unlucky man
…send him off with all good speed:
it is not his fate to die here, far from his own people.
Homer, The Odyssey, Book 5 (trans. R. Fagles):
Hermes tells Calypso she has to let Odysseus go

Calypso so not surprised
you brought the big no
with you across the boozy sea.

She guesses every thriller has its cat’s meow.
The day hides so many nos
inside its yeses.

Hermes
skips home to the mountain
unwhipped by longing.

Her lover gone
Calypso dropped
onto a silken sealskin

with a pitcher of Hillary Wallbangers.
Artemis and Demeter texted back i know right???
And grief

or maybe emmenagogues — vanillin and vitamin C —
unloosed a sort of flow in her.
She ran to Marathon and tried

to make mortal rites on a shell-sharded shore.
The gods shook their heads.
She envied the dead.

Wanting him felt like when
she stole something small at the drugstore,
or that time she did a whole quarter

in a bathroom stall at the club
telling her friends who were waiting outside
that the dealer was on his night off.

That clean swipe to the right side
of the brain. Sweet clarity
to the sinus cavity. Is she wolfish.

She slept on the beach
and stained the sand.
It had to be stanched.

Aegean lichen
itched
like a bitch.

The Ogygian queen fo-
raged on all fours for leftover fleece
from a sheep-shearing,

waited for moonfall to mine the alley
behind a barbershop, loitered around a Worshipful
Company of Launderers for dis-

carded linens and things that wouldn’t sting
her weeping womb.
She missed her shuttle and loom.

Out of absorbent materials one
claw-fingered morning she undid
a shining braid

and trimming its tail made
the saddest pad in the world with muslin
lifted from an Athenian haberdasher.

The seven-year seducer of whom
King Alcinous heard, too
shy to go on scavenging through beaches

and backalleys for her own bloody sake,
hacked away at her lovely braids until
her head was razed.

She went to her father
who was shouldering the sky
but he didn’t recognize

the suppliant in tattered robes
as his own immortal
flesh and bone.

She went back to the sea.
“Poseidon,” she said,
“Come get me.”

And Poseidon, whose hatred for her hero
needed no fuel
took her in his mighty grasp

and wondered what to do.
“Scatter me,” she said. “I’m ashes.
I’ll whisper when the waves retreat.”

Poseidon agreed. When a wave
climbing bravely up a foreign shore
turns back on itself with a sigh – that’s her.


Rebecca Rustin lives in Montreal, QC and works as a freelance writer and translator.