Penelope

                                           

 

Weave a new tale for the clever queen. By day she weaves the shroud; by night she undoes the day’s work, surreptitiously picking out the threads after all are abed, guided only by the pale thin light of a waning moon. Isn’t this the tale we know? But there is more to her than patience and stalling. Seated at the loom, it is not Odysseus for whom she yearns. See how the waiting has aged her? The shroud she weaves could be her own, a cerement for her youth that has come and gone and is no more. Seated before the loom that weaves all her life together—each thread a moment single, golden, and divine—she plucks weft from warp to free herself from the fate she’s been spun, from the bind and doom that is marriage. She wants none of the suitors; she wants no husband’s return; she wants only herself. She wants more than mere uncoupling; she wants to travel farther back than courtship and ceremony. O to unravel and unknit the thread all the way back to her girlhood, when life promised so much more than waiting, to the time before her body budded and blossomed from girl to woman—yes, just back to there—right before she unfurled.

 

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photograph of author, Amina Gautier
Amina Gautier. Photograph by Jenni Bryant

Amina Gautier is the author of three short story collections: At-Risk, Now We Will Be Happy, and The Loss of All Lost Things. At-Risk was awarded the Flannery O’Connor Award; Now We Will Be Happy was awarded the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction; The Loss of All Lost Things was awarded the Elixir Press Award in Fiction. More than one hundred and twenty-five of her stories have been published, appearing in Agni, Blackbird, Boston Review, Callaloo, Glimmer Train, Joyland, Kenyon Review, Latino Book Review, New Flash Fiction Review, Passages North, Quarterly West, Saturday Evening Post, and Southern Review among other places. For her body of work she has received the PEN/MALAMUD Award for Excellence in the Short Story.