James Butler-Gruett: We Don’t Google It

On First Looking Into Karen’s Homer


and so we’re

in an argument now

about what color they mean

in Homer, what Homer means,

I guess, if he existed,

if his body were one man and

not agglomerate from

centuries of speakers, or

a woman, as I read somewhere

that Samuel Butler said

the author of the Odyssey

must be—

about what color the wine

Homer/they/she is referring to

when writing “wine-dark sea,”


Karen saying that there’s no way

the sea could look claret-colored

and me counter-arguing that there’s

no way there’s such thing as

green-blue wine


we don’t Google it because there

are some things it’s best just not to have resolved

in our argument—which we’re

not in the same room for, by the way,

it happens online, when

I’m unshaven and eating cucumbers

if you can believe it, I know

and she’s probably alone

doing something beautiful


the jigsaw way we talk

there’s something there

and we cut each other up

because it’s hard to differentiate

the dark pieces

sea-dark, like the wine.

James Butler-Gruett is an MFA candidate in fiction at the University of Arizona. He is from Nebraska and was raised by opera singers.