Autumn Sky Poetry . . . Number 6 . . .

The Shield of Thetis

I should have finished what I started.
Nine months and the immortal blood
I passed to him were not enough
to keep him from his human destiny.

So much of that was self-fulfilling:
what teenage boy avoids the surge
of war that mimics how his power rises,
new, from childish limbs to hairy legs?

I sought the metalsmith, but his was iron
bent instead of bled and in the end
I know the body, bones and ligaments, the best.
Thigh for armpiece, rib for crossbar,
my longest hairs to hold my skin stretched taut.

If only I were proud of all his slaughter,
proud that he fit all his wallowing grief
to a cause his world considered just:
that girls should not be raped, nor boys
allowed to knife each other without rules.

He did not ask for prophecy,
but neither did he learn the body
bent and broken never ends revenge
and never purges sadness.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Neither did I.

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Mary Alexandra Agner

Mary Alexandra Agner writes of dead women, telescopes, and secrets. She makes her home outside Boston. She can be found online at www.pantoum.org.

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© 2007 Mary Alexandra Agner