Louise Gluck




The Triumph of Achilles

In the story of Patroclus
no one survives, not even Achilles
who was nearly a god.
Patroclus resembled him; they wore 
the same armor. 

Always in these friendships 
one serves the other, one is less than the other: 
the hierarchy 
is always apparent, though the legends
cannot be trusted—
their source is the survivor, 
the one who has been abandoned. 

What were the Greek ships on fire 
compared to this loss? 

In his tent, Achilles 
grieved with his whole being 
and the gods saw

he was a man already dead, a victim 
of the part that loved, 
the part that was mortal.