The Embassy at the Tomb, Part I

Best of the Achaeans,
strums his lyre
beside the bricked-up tomb
containing the golden urn
containing the bones of a hero
and whispers,
"Soon, sweet Patroclus, soon."

And then comes an embassy
Of Odysseus, Ajax, Podarces, and Thersites.

"Agamemnon sends his regards,"
Says Odysseus, son of Laertes.

"Agamemnon sends his pet,"
Achilles retorts,
as with a thrusted spear.

Great Ajax steps forward next.
"Return with us, Cousin.
Why grieve alone
when Myrmidon comrades await
to cheer your return?
Or if sadness is your true desire,
Every man will wail at your request.
Every woman will beat her breast.
Every horse will stand with lowered head.
Every pig in its pen,
Every rat in its hole-"

"But not I,"
says Bow-Legged Thersites,
The others,
even those on his side,
have to restrain
their strangle-minded fingers.
"Thersites sheds no tears
over corpse-crumbs in an urn.
Bold Thersites
is ready for something new.
Perhaps you are as well, dear Achilles?"

Achilles considers Thersites.
A long moment passes.

"I speak of Briseis," Thersites pitches.
"The girl who sits a nightly vigil
in your tent."

Achilles snaps
To attention.
"No man touches her!"

"Not even the Atreides would dare,"
Podarces assures.
"She waits only for you."

Achilles had pledged
to take Briseis as his wife.
But now?
He shakes his head.
"No man touches her,"
he says,
as he remains,
rooted in place,
strumming the lyre.

"The Embassy at the Tomb, Part I"
©2020 Greg R. Fishbone



Read the Manuscript

And Then, An Amazon

Collection The Fall of Troy
Title "The Embassy at the Tomb, Part I"
Order Amazon, Verse 2
Preceded By "First and Then"
Followed By "Ride, Amazons, Ride!"
Date Published June 28, 2020

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