At the gates, Thetis' boy, the one with the bad heel,
waits for his war. The Gods know his mother
tried to save him, to make her mixed marriage last.
Six children sacrificed, the ardent goddess
blazed to purge her seventh of mortality
but where she held him, he scalded.
Out of childhood's shadow, he doesn't feel
his own weak foot; he can't recall
the water or the stranger's bone. Eager
for vengeance, not enticed to live forever,
he hefts the great round shield, his principal defense
a mother's love. Underneath his breastplate
what is mortal and almost mortal thrums.
He doesn't notice how the touched place burns.