Part IV

Open your eyes. Slide away
From that body-littered beach
Breathe cool winter-mint air as it stings your nose
And see them, controllers of fate.
Golden chairs in a circle. Fire pit, center.

 Watch them ignore you.

 Clusters of glass houses. Palaces.
Keep walking—

 Dirty clay hut,
Grey from ash.

 One is hiding.
Hammer, metal, fire.
All he needs, he says.
No one comes near,
Not even his wife, no.
She just wants war-gods,
Bodybuilders, wrestlers in spandex.
What good is a cripple to her?

But Thetis, silver gown,
She enters,

“Hephaestus,”—The massive man looks up from below greasy bangs—
“Can you do me a favor?” Coy smile. Wink.
He trembles, her slender hand running up and down his scarred skin.
No reply.

“You see,” Soft. Mouth near burnt ear.
“Achilles needs armour. My son, at Troy.”


Is dead, you know
Mortals—they do that. They get old.
Weak.” Not like you, Hephaestus.

Slim fingers on bulging arms.
Lungs try to open.

“Ok.” Lips almost touch
Almost touch
So close he feels her dewy breath on his hot cheek— 

pull away.

“Thanks, Hephy.” Gone.


 “Hephy.” Smiles.
He pushes up his flannel sleeves,
Rubs his prickled chin,
Lifts his hammer,


The End

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