an excerpt from Heathen

When the call heralds over the rough stone fence, attempt to feign these words: resignation, duty.

Inside, know that you revel in escaping

 

the tedium. Being clean, quiet, orderly. Mending all the objects and psyches you didn't break,

the delicate math of bartering for what

 

you want. How, by day's end, the woman you love has no energy left for desire. You think, This is

not a man's life. This is not how a man lives.

 

Yet, one cannot deny she was the hearth you quested. As you dress, remain silent, apart. Do not make excuses about your leaving. She will know. She has always

 

known the way you strategically eye each battle, knowing there is nothing to lose: not mortality,

not homestead, not pain. Nothing. Fighting beyond

 

endurance is the marrow of a man's life. Envision yourself striding over a field of stones and dirt, slaying slaves and children fool enough to believe they want to become men.

 

You are the fearful shadow imprinted upon the iris of another man's soul. You are myth, not mythology. The sword without actual need of shield, the sweet tender spot aching.

Read next

The Achilles Poem: Heel