Post Road Magazine #26

Chiron, on Achilles

Caitlin Lahsaiezadeh

He never had a knack for archery – how could he?
The boy was brilliant – but all blind drive and thrust,
favoring bronze blades half his weight, hefting them
with the same determination that ants have, bearing
a leaf or crumb to their mound. A stubborn sort of student,
and hard on himself, harder than even I could be. No siblings
except that curse, trailing him like a second shadow.
He used to wake in the night screaming for death, his own
or others he never said. A quiet child, otherwise.
I did the best I could for him; I prefer not to think of fate
as an exercise in futility. I was taught that the strongest armor
is not made of bronze but of the complete and utter indifference
to failure. So when he left, I said nothing. I knew I'd helped forge
a singular sort of student, a weapon that would be its own undoing.

First Tattoo

Caitlin Lahsaiezadeh

Blood is thicker than ink, so I'm shanghaied into going.
The parlor has a coin-operated pool table, one cue stick,
stained blue at the tip. The needle begins to buzz. I break
and become solid. The man at the counter eyes my inkless
arms. What is this, amateur night? I scratch and swear.
When I lose, he offers me a lollipop. You suck. I do, but
I belong here even less than the pool table, its felt loose
and frayed as new sod. I itch all over, feel the phantom
needle stitching ink to skin. It hurts but it's worth it
my sister assures me, but I'm not sure it is. She peels back
the bandage and smiles at the raw rosebud on her arm,
the way a soldier might smile at a wound he sustained
in battle – the one he'd thought would be his last.

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