Schliemann digs by day in the winds of Hisarlık,
prospecting for myth with digammas and dynamite.
His children’s names roll like the sea
grounding black ships on burning shores,
his wife with the hair of a saffron gatherer
looks past the camera as if to Paris at the feast;
year by thousand years, thirteen Troy towns
give up their gold as one.
The woman comes each night on the boat from Ithaki,
steered by her husband with a soldier’s sea–mazed eyes.
Her jewels are a handful of olives, sucked salt on the journey,
a loom–brown woman, the lines of her mouth warp and weft.
With wool–worn fingers, she ravels the earth of Ilion,
amending all that picks and photographs may do —
cups, cauldrons, dry estuary shells anonymous
as the beloved profile beneath a draping shroud.
She shakes time out, folds it, leaves it flat as a tarp
while her husband talks Turkish, offers almonds
to the guards at the site.
In the morning, Heinrich digs for his childhood city,
sifting dirt again and again
for the tangible, not the true.