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  • Reese Walker

Two Lovers, One War

By Reese Walker
Posted on September 1, 2023
Cover Image Title: Achilles
Cover Image by Gabrielle
Classification: Watercolor and pencil
Specifications: 9 x 12 inches
Year: 2023

Dipped in the river / she holds me by / the heel. / My skin decorated with gold / carrying the weight of the armour / Hephaestus forged.


From goddess / and man / comes you. / A power / unmeasurable / greater than all / to walk the Earth / where I stand.


I am a prince / born a king / kept from my throne. / I am a god / born a human / hidden from humanity.


I meet you / in the cave. / We were taught from a raw age / awaiting the call / of battle / that you are forbidden to hear. / From boys / to men / we grow up together / while our love grows stronger.


Across the sea / where she tells me / not to pass / my mind thunders / like the storm that Zeus brews / above us.


A thousand ships / sail behind us / In the distance / is the treasure / for the man / who brought an army / upon his enemy / with a single word. / He holds the torch / to a city / that has withstood onslaught for ages.


The sand / under my feet / is cold / like my heart. / Yet / you are the waves / entangling me in your warmth / freeing me / while I lay / trapped in your arms.


We advance / we fall back.


We fall back / we advance.


We fight / and we push / forward / and backward / on / and off. / Only to face stone / and never pass the wall / to reach the jewel.


I come back / in the night / back into your arms / after the day / has burnt me out. / You heal the wounded / under the sun. / Under the moon / you heal my broken heart.


Days / and days.


Years / and years.


Of the same / life / over and over again / with no sight of change / on the horizon. / Our men fall / onto their own swords / and those of Troy.


For days and days / I stay / locked away, / from the war calling to me. / The cries of defeat hang in the air. / A shade of red covers your hands / when you return to me / in the night.


The man with the torch / has taken your prize / and your dignity. / For years and years / you hide / holding the key / to what is locked / away / behind the castle.


From dusk to dawn / we don’t sleep / we can’t sleep. / Restless years of warfare reign on us.


Until I decide / you / our fiercest soldier / cannot hide no longer. / Cowering from the loss of your image / I take your breastplate / your helmet / your chariot. / The son of Peleus / ready to rise / and revive our side.


Rolling in our bed / I wake / to see the other half of it / empty. / Tis not the hour / to tend to the bloodshed / You are gone / but for how long?


The gold does not fit / to my skin / as it does to yours. / The blade heavy in my palm / I am ready / to revive our side / our army.


They chant my name / yet I am right here / far from the battlefield / where they shout. / There is a man / a fierce soldier / with a trail of blood behind him. / He is in my armour / with my weapons / my chariot.


They chant your name / for they believe that I am you / killing five Trojans at once. / The catapults launch / flames igniting the enemy line. / Our soldiers charge forward / with a newfound energy / not seen for decades.


We advance / following the man in my armour. / He turns back / I face him / and I see he is you. / The lines of your face are shrouded / under the metal / but your eyes are forever memorable / engraved into my mind.


I have led our army / as you / to the unreachable barricade / I turn to face you once more. / You are battling five men / with bare effort and bare armour. / Your exposed skin flashing under Apollo’s light. / I turn away again / to see Troy’s prodigy / son of Priam / with a grin hanging on his face / and red dripping from his ledger / facing me.


Your cry shatters the battlefield / and my soul. / I know it is the last I will hear of your voice; / Hades has been kind to us both for too long.


Hector’s blade has pierced through me / I am the healer now fallen with his wounded. / My spirit sinks into the Underworld / awaiting your presence / after your revenge.


Your murderer falls from my spear / The hero who has become the villain / His body now trails from my chariot / around the walls that once protected him.


My love / I am no longer with you / so allow Death to bring you to me / with honour.


They call it hubris / my weakness / my ego / my pride.


My fatal flaw / is no one / but you.


I fall from the arrow / where the Styx / did not touch me / As the Fates foresaw long ago / I shall descend / with you / into the afterlife / for my time above / with you / was lost.


You are Achilles / and I am your Patroclus / your pride always coming before.


Description:

This poem describes a love story between Achilles (in bold) and Patroclus (in regular), inspired by the Greek myths about the Trojan War. The hero Achilles was known for his pride, his hubris, or rather his “Achilles heel” as his fatal flaw, which ultimately killed him in the end-- when he got his revenge on Hector for killing Patroclus, but he was then killed by Paris. The slashes used are to indicate pauses, commas, or a new idea within a line-- an artistic choice taken by the writer.


[ * The End * ]

[Writing Editor: Ananya Shah]

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