we read love as mortal by Prithiva Sharma

Achilles Lamenting the Death of Patroclus

“In his tent, Achilles
grieved with his whole being
and the gods saw
he was a man already dead, a victim
of the part that loved,
the part that was mortal.”

— The Triumph of Achilles, Louise Glück

i read Achilles’ grief
as a god turned mortal
as history turned epic;
but Achilles grieves
in every word written ever 
as a mortal, overshadowed by god.
we read grief as mortal
and gods don’t grieve.
there is no answer to the weeping
of a legend
except another legend.

“home is a person”

i turn the pages 
looking for a world where Achilles’ sobs
are just that,
where triumph isn’t victory
where vengeance isn’t revenge
and isn’t the epic of Achilles
an epic of anguish?

Patroclus’ ashes 
aren’t mortal,
mixed with the pain of Achilles
the grief of a god
Patroclus’ ashes become an epic
and a tomb becomes a home
home becomes a loss
a loss of epic proportions,
a loss that turned death immortal.

we read love as mortal
not as home.
we read home as nowhere
lost in history’s 

“home is a person”
a person becomes a caravan
housing love letters to loss
for loss is temporary
and so is mortality.

we read love as mortal
triumph as god
and i spend my time 
finding spaces between the two,
finding spaces where i can find
the resting place
of Patroclus’ love
and Achilles’ grief.

and i read Achilles’ triumph
as a mortal
his love as a god
his anguish as immortal
his revenge as mundane
and somewhere
the legend changes path
turns the epic on his axis.
the legend changes path
and the legend weeps.

and when a legend cries
it becomes a mortal from a god.

“home is a person”
home becomes a legend 
where we hide and sob
where we lose and regret
home becomes a resting place
of emotions overshadowed by life.

Prithiva Sharma is a poet from India, currently pursuing her MA in Creative Writing. Her interests lie in writing poetry and fanfiction, and she especially is interested in Greek mythology. Her work has appeared in Lihaaf Journal, Vagabond City Lit, Wellington Street Review, The Confessionalist Zine among others, and can be found at https://campsite.bio/prithuwu or at her Instagram @prithuwu. 

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