What, are you home?  I’m sorry I wasn’t here to greet you.
When the ships came back without you, everyone thought you dead.
But I knew better—and waited for your arrival.
After ten years went by, I decided to search you out myself.

I knew just where to look:  the bars, the whorehouses,
your friends’ vacation homes, the golf courses—
but you weren’t to be found anywhere.  No one had seen you.
So I set off by myself with only what I could carry.

Of course my doing anything like that was controversial.
I hadn’t been outside our borders since we were married.
There were protests and rallies, arguments and entreaties—
they said I couldn’t leave Ithaca, that I was needed here.

But I would have none of it—and I had my way at the end.
Who could deny me the right? Am I not the queen?
There’s a lot out there—more than I ever expected.
I’ve been away a long time and it’s good to be home.

You have no idea what I’ve learned—about you, about myself,
about the world—it isn’t flat, after all—and about life.
You always thought it was about winning battles and booty,
new possessions and trophies, songs and legends of glory.

You didn’t know what really mattered until you got home.
And when you didn’t find me there to welcome you
and had to drive away all those greedy layabouts
you finally found something worth fighting for.

©2003 Dorothy Miller Gutenkauf