In the Iliad, there is no natural death–
everything comes about by intent
as if the pulse and very breath
we take were something meant
to be shaped. All that violence
out of somebody’s error.
The same clumsy butting against the sense
of things over and over, horrible,
then somehow forgettable. And in the middle of the shield,
in the middle of the day, in the middle of their never-
ending tasks, the women go on yielding
to it, scrubbing the corpse cloths whiter
than ever, digging with their sticks in the dirt,
hauling the water back and forth, over
and over, where it runs forever through the dry ditch.