From a heel-held baptism in the river Styx to repeated stays of death on the fields of Troy, Thetis worked tirelessly to protect her doomed son, Achilles. And still he was lost, as all men eventually are.
Why the river called to my young son
I do not know; the river is cold, and
Will not tell me. Maybe it had grown
Weary of the bits of silver it stole
From the mountains, black and dull.
Perhaps it wanted someone warm
To hold against the smooth yellow clay
Of its belly, someone to tutor in all it knew.
Maybe it was the silence beneath the foaming
Skin that lured my child, always so anxious.
Eager to rest in its bed, where the sun
Had not moved for many cycles of years.
M'ijo, que dulce amargura fuiste a tomar alli?
He cannot answer, he cannot speak. What was given
My son, the river made him promise not to yield.
When I put my hands to the elbow; when I pulled my son
Up by the heel, we pronounced him invulnerable at last.
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