beneath the current bubbling over the tip
of his little boy, button nose. Mama holds him down,
her hand a boulder on his chest, but
with one leg he kicks out in
humanity’s Darwinian instinct.
Not just the heel, but the whole foot.
It isn’t logical any other way, in modern times.
In modern times, Hades is
a public park’s baseball diamond in 1996 suburban America,
and Styx is a river wrapped around its perimeter,
hidden by pricker bushes and dogwood trees in bloom.
Thetis isn’t Thetis,
whose wedding marked the first day of war fought for
pomegranates and beauty pageants,
but Theresa or Tara or
maybe some non-T name—Marcia. Victoria. Alice.
The possibilities are infinite.
Achilles is just shy of three and Mama imprisons him
below the pink petal coated river surface, promising,
Any second now, any moment longer, my good, brave, never dying boy,
until she drags him up up up
into the light of a sun kept stationary in space,
never once pulled by the chariot of a Titan or god spelled with a lowercase g.
little boy mouth flapping like a trout dying from fresh air,
his still developing lungs made into sheep-leather wineskins
half-full with water churning too much for mosquitoes to rest, so
she thumps at his back--
leaving behind fingerprint bruises on skin.
The River Styx flows back through his throat,
burning as it goes.
Sofia Lago is a New Yorker studying abroad in the UK, working towards a PhD in folklore and history. She loves mythology and fairy tales from around the world, and frequently incorporates both into her writing. Currently, she holds a bachelor's degree in history and a master's in Museum Studies. She's travelled to sixteen countries, and hopes to reach more. Her works, both prose and poetry, have previously appeared in Folio, Twisted Vine Literary Arts Journal, Birds Piled Loosely, A Lonely Riot, and Junto Magazine.