Louise Gluck

Telemachus Dilemma

I can never decide
what to write on
my parents’ tomb. I know
what he wants: he wants
beloved, which is
certainly to the point, particularly
if we count all
the women. But
that leaves my mother
out in the cold. She tells me
this doesn’t matter to her
in the least: she prefers
to be represented by
her own achievement. It seems
tactless to remind them
that one does not
honor the dead by perpetuating
their vanities, their 
projections of themselves.
My own taste dictates
accuracy without
garrulousness: they are
my parents, consequently
I see them together,
sometimes inclining to
husband and wife, other times
to opposing forces.