Tell Me About a Complicated Man

A poem by Doretta Lau

Tell Me About a Complicated Man

I read the opening line of The Odyssey:
“Tell me about a complicated man.” I think,
shall I invoke the gods? I am looking for a hero,
one in particular. Who do I call upon to tell
the story of an uncomplicated man, my father?

Maloy sends me these lines
from Michael Ondaatje, which I break:
“The joyful will stoop with sorrow,
and when you have gone to the earth
I will let my hair grow long for your sake,
I will wander through the wilderness
in the skin of a lion.”

My father has gone to the earth, but I cut my hair
and I try to dream him back to life, into a landscape
where the rain seems unceasing,
where it is winter and I am without direction.

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