A fiery necklace of jade stretches down her throat during their goodbye kiss. When he boards the gangplank the beads sink into her navel where they ignite. She says, “If you come back maimed I will take care of you. If what you saw haunts you, I’ll exorcise your demons with my touch. If you return to me as a corpse I will keep fresh roses on your grave. But please give Agamemnon this note I wrote for you that you are married to a woman who will surely perish of heartbreak if you come home in a casket.”
“He would call me a coward.”
“Be my lovely coward. Go to the Hades for cowards but stay the hell away from Troy. Dammit become a blacksmith and make swords so you’ll be in a military industry and won’t get conscripted. Do this if you love me.”
He replies, “There are 6000 islands in Greece only 227 are inhabited. Let’s find our desert island where I can fish and you can grow tomatoes.”
“Are you saying you’ll be my conscientious objector?”
“I will fight with my last breath to defend you. But foreign adventurism isn’t my true calling.”
They sail beyond the sunset where he follows the train of the gown she wore for their wedding that becomes a path of moonlight across the sea to where mariners go to dream.
Odysseus says, “Shall we berth on that shore? I see fig trees and grass.”
Penelope replies, “I must confess my sweet tooth for which figs are the answer.”
“I spy a goat. That spells milk for our babies.”
“I see six goats. Our babies will have strong bones.”
Like a sailor on the wine-dark Aegean, he sees her face in the vision splendid as they see for the first time the Isle of the Blest.