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Pallas Athena took my poetry course
one summer a few years back, 
under some silly alias like Kristen
or Morgan, which didn’t fool me
for a second. Full well I knew
that wide brow and gray eyes wherein
whole worlds revolved. As you know,
from time to time a god or goddess
hankers for a mortal, and so it was
that one day after class she waited
until the students had left the room,
then sat herself down on my desk, 
Pallas Athena in tennis shorts
and a halter top with magical powers.
She asked me over to her place
for a salad niçoise and blood-red
wine, Rioja, I think, although
everything was spinning, a roaring
from somewhere far off made it
impossible to hear. And I did pause,
I’ll admit, for more than a few
blazing seconds as Troy burned, 
I did hesitate before saying 
no, sorry, my wife has lunch
waiting at home. Homer
gave an epic to his hero,
and a goddess or two as well. 
My reward was a ham sandwich
and some iced tea. But when
I came home that day a small boy
wrapped his arms around my thigh
and cried out that strange name 
whereby he knows me. Another
way of saying, Odysseus.

—from Cheap Motels of My Youth


“Of all the courses I ever took in life, becoming a dad was my favorite.”

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