Everyone's so quick to blame my
tenderness. My wound opening like a mouth
to kiss an arrow's steel beak.
A beautiful man, now, plants his face
in Trojan sand while I tell
the secrets of his body--
make the ground red with truth.
Red with the death of Achilles, felled
by an arrow's bite when nothing--
nothing--could puncture his Kevlar skin.
Everyone skips ahead to the moral: don't
be a heel. For just one day I felt
sun where the chafing bonds of sandal
should have been. Without me, he'd be
just more fodder for the cannon.
I made him a hero, Troy's poster
boy. Everyone forgets I was part of him,
I needed him--that even as he died,
I tasted each pulse--
that I could not hold back its rush of red
birds or the season to which they flew.
~ Charles Jensen