Akhil IX

Achilles at the prow, daydreaming of points of exposure in his armor, as the shore of Troy rushed towards him, realized not one place he ever lived felt like home. Remembering once as a boy his father taking him into the wilderness. The lesson being Salute Every Man and Bow to None, the object being learning to live comfortably in pain. There in a clearing in the woods they discovered an eagle engaging a hare, an intangible, unspeakable thing. Thus Achilles learned quickness. It was the comfort of this memory that he let his mind rest on, the clever darting hare, whenever he was troubled.

Somebody told me once that the way Homer was able to recite the Iliad over the course of many days was to imagine the story as a house with many rooms, each section representing a room populated with the story and so, in his mind, he would walk each room describing what he saw. Today on the job, your poet could find no room in his mind in which his mind could rest, so he lay down in the darkest one he could find and wept.

Just before the beach, Achilles remembered himself as the boy high in the trees. He told that boy endure, child, endure. He thought of Hector waiting for him just beyond the dunes, his own singular art of killing. Coming over the prow and into the surf, his is the shout that can be heard for eternity. The arrows raining down from heaven, thousands of them, each one is a gift.