“Patroclus—the man I loved beyond all other comrades, loved as my own life.”
So this is what it’s like to love.
I kiss you on the lips
and suddenly I’m drowning.
You kiss me on the heel,
and for the first time,
I know what forever feels like.
“…we could stride from the slaughter / so we could bring Troy’s hallowed crown of towers / toppling down around us—you and I alone!”
So this is what it’s like to be invincible.
Let’s take over the world, you and I.
Let’s crumble down the walls surrounding Troy
and send everyone down to the River Styx.
Let’s climb Mount Olympus ourselves
and crown ourselves the new gods of the land.
“Patroclus has fallen. They’re fighting over his corpse. / He’s stripped, naked—Hector with that flashing helmet, / Hector has your arms!”
So this is what it’s like to be immortal,
to see time take its weary hands
and twist the neck of the man you love.
Even the gods don’t dare to stand against time,
but I will face him with my own hands,
bring him and the earth to their knees
so I can avenge the man who gave me forever.
“‘Now, with his rage inflamed for his friend’s death, I fear he’ll raze the walls against the will of fate.’"
So this is what it’s like to be a god:
with an anger of a thousand suns
that makes even Zeus turn his head,
that makes the Fates grip their thread in fear.
Everything I do, I will do for you.
I will burn this earth to the ground
if it means having you back in my arms.
He can feel his hands grow calloused overnight, tough like leather and dusted from the dirt of spilled blood, hands that once mapped out soft skin. His tears sting as they flow down his wounded cheeks, cheeks that once felt warm lips and shuddered breaths. They sting, but they don’t hurt because he is immortal. He is immortal and he can live forever. He is immortal and he is a god. He is a god that, with his fingers that once combed through ambrosia hair, he “will cut the throats of a dozen sons of Troy in all their shining glory, venting his rage on them for Patroclus’ destruction.”
So this is what it’s like to die
as a hero in unsung glory
and gentle relief.
An arrow kisses my heel,
a prayer kisses my lips,
whispering of a day where I can meet you,
hand in hand in the Elysian Fields.
where forever is just a last breath away.
“Never bury my bones apart from yours, Achilles, / let them lie together … / just as we grew up together in your house … / So now let a single urn, the gold two-handled urn / your noble mother gave you, hold our bones–together!”
— hubris, or simply the way he loves (or, the story that Homer never told) | c.a.