Achilles does not sleep.
Instead, he seeks the lover’s embrace and curved lips alongside which he went to war;
Those same that he did not find,
Once the dark mist had come swirling down over his eyes
And his soul went winging down to the House of Death,
with a soldier’s sigh of relief.
He had whispered in Charon’s ear, “Take me to him.”
Charon had rowed on, but held his silence.
By way of greeting, a thousand faces turned away,
And no trace of his beloved’s sweet smile as he disembarked, no warm hand to take his own.
“Patroklus,” he cries,
And goes unheard.
Thus; Achilles does not sleep.
He is Achilles; he does not wait.
He is Achilles; instead, he aches.
He is Achilles; instead, he searches.
Over the horizon, he chases Patroklus’ laugh and the turn of his wrist.
He lingers in all the shadowed corners of eternity,
Leafs through the pages of unforgiving, unyielding posterity,
Whispers “Patroklus, best of the Myrmidons” and sends his name through the winds.
The headstrong runner does not drag his feet as he scours the world,
As he chases ghosts across the face of the earth.
Restless, he is never still,
Knows that each step must carry him closer,
Knows that each ragged cry may be the one
That is finally answered,
Each rendition the wound to be finally salved.
He haunts, and is haunted.
‘I did not feel it,’ he thinks. 'It should have been as though Hektor’s pierced my side, in turn. Did they not say we were one?’
As if what he felt, when they told him, had not been enough.
(Scamander would disagree).
One day, smiling among the cypress, he will cease.
One day, the thousand faces turned away will melt to the one alone that within itself holds his heart.
One day, his greeting will be that sweet smile that he found only in the dawn.
One day, a warm hand will take his own, and the word with which his beloved left him will be the same as that which retrieves him:
Until the day when his heart pours out golden,
Achilles will not sleep.