Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2016  Vol. 15 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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As he bent to the work with all his craft and cunning,
Thetis on her glistening feet drew near the Smith.
But Charis saw her first, Charis coming forward,
lithe and lovely in all her glittering headdress,
the Grace the illustrious crippled Smith had married.
—Homer, The Iliad

Before the shield, before the tired shores clashed
with the plains, when horses’ reins were salt-dry,
not slick with blood, before the sails were lashed
tight to their masts, before she came to cry
inside our heavy door, we lived alone. Each dawn
was coal red. Your fingers cracked and bled
when you touched anything that wasn’t drawn
out of the fire. The night that we were wed,

sword-forger, love, you hammered silver in the shape
of doves flying to hang above our bed. Now war
scorches your tender hands. The furnace gapes
for metal: bronze, iron, gold––I load it with more
birch wood, all the while watching your eyes
darken like pastures, smoke-black skies.  

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