Polyxena

Unmasked the lords of whiteness, undrowned
The dram of sorrow. Betwixt the sacrosanct sky
And the blackened earth, a princess strode beside
The ruins of Ilium; through the breaking of the

Shoal, the harrowing drums, marched the bride
Towards Achilles’ sepulcher; the swaying Argive
Masts yearning for the skies of Hellas, their
Restless unfurled sails indifferent to the eyes

Of the vanquished. The ravaged walls, lost
To an ocean of pain and memory – a damsel to
Be sacrificed. And the stars gazed down, and the
Moon rained down, and naught could be heard

But the wailing of a queen, a wreath now fallen,
The scepter shattered with the diadem; for in
Whose burning brain did the horrors rend, without
Surcease the demons of the twilight. Flickering

Feline flames, soon roaring towards their destiny;
Priam bellowing the order to evacuate, some
Gathering their wives and attempting to flee
With Aeneas, others grabbing any weapon they

Could and plunging into the maelstrom – one last
Charge into a sea of doom with the barbarian;
The regal eyes suddenly frantic – their supernal
Aegis gripped with terror – as the conflagration

Grew primordial. Andromache weeping beside
Young Astyanax, his broken body cast from once
Holy battlements, crushed against the pitiless
Jagged rocks; tortured Hector crying out through

Mesmeric rains, his wraithlike visage evanescing
In the haze, as the infidels stood indomitable. And
The vultures gazed down and the angels gazed
Down and the Myrmidons gazed on in deathlike

Silence, while not a wind did stir, their formation
Immovable, eyes locked on the blood-wed maiden.
The first humanitarian intervention thus spent,
As the raven landed, its journey over, the ghastly

Eye Hades’ harbinger; until the immortal maiden
Took the last step, thrice enshadowed the marriage
Crypt, looked over the Danaans with a dauntless
Mien, no vows the kiss of eternity, no tears the waning

Of the half-light; until the sword of Neoptolemus
Sliced through the air, and she, bereft of dream
And all our woe, crumpled to the earth, transcendent
Of the stars, her ghost fading with the hourglass.

David Penner has taught English and ESL within the City University of New York and at Fordham. His articles on politics and health care have appeared in CounterPunch, Dissident Voice, Dr. Linda and KevinMD; while his poetry has been published with Dissident Voice. Also a photographer, he is the author of three books: Faces of Manhattan Island, Faces of The New Economy, and Manhattan Pairs. He can be reached at: 321davidadam@gmail. Read other articles by David.