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Trojan

When a hurricane sends

Winds far enough north

To put our power out,

We only think of winning

The war bodies wage

To prove the border

Between them isn’t real.

An act of God, so sweet.

No TV. No novel. No

Recreation but one

Another, and neither of us

Willing to kill. I don’t care

That I don’t love my lover.

Knowing where to stroke

In little light, knowing what

Will happen to me and how

Soon, these rank higher

Than a clear view

Of the face I’d otherwise

Flay had I some training

In combat, a blade, a few

Matches. Candles are

Romantic because

We understand shadows.

We recognize the shape

Of what once made us

Come, so we come

Thinking of approach

In ways that forgo

Substance. I’m breathing —

Heaving now —

In my own skin, and I

Know it. Romance is

An act. The perimeter

Stays intact. We make out

So little that I can’t help

But imagine my safety.

I get to tell the truth

About what kind

Of a person lives and who

Dies. Barefoot survivors.

Damned heroes, each

Corpse lit on a pyre.

Patroclus died because

He could not see

What he really was inside

His lover’s armor.


- Jericho Brown


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