Hot Metal Bridge

Current Issue : Number Twenty-Five

Her Copy of the Epic


That afternoon I held the frayed edges
of my mother’s college Odyssey.
I touched her graphite in the margins, and
I felt the cheap acid paper of Fitzgerald’s
1962 translation. All edges become curves.

I read what Homer said of young Telemakhos,
“The son is rare who measures with his father,”
and the comment she left in a hand that has not changed,
or not much, “descent from a super-race?”
likewise men lag behind their works, their inventions.
Above the suture, the needle’s widening eye –
I had spent my Saturday wandering
through the bookstores in the Square,
reading dust jackets, trying to think
a thought so big you could fit your life through it.
My eyes on the nymph at the violin,
case open for homage. We’re more than a stone’s throw from rocky
soiled Ithaka. All hands on the bowstring
my hands can’t pull. She bows into her applause, the clink
of nickels, above which I can’t raise my voice.
It started to rain very gently. The margins
Seemed inviting.

Benjamin Aldes Wurgaft currently teaches at the University of California-Berkeley, where he received his Ph.D. in European Intellectual History in 2009. His essays on food and contemporary culture have been published widely in magazines and journals such as Gastronomica, Meatpaper and many others. His academic work focuses on the history of continental philosophy, critical theory and public intellectual life.