His foot exudes pus from a wound a snake made
and the goddess cursed. A man abandoned
to an island – the Greeks can’t stand his whimpering

and odor – until the gods decree the Greeks need his bow
to win the war. Odysseus arrives by ship
with Achilles’ son and a plan to deceive the pathetic cripple

into returning to battle. Forget the injustice
of their callous disregard, forget suffering
fed by a goddess’s pique, forget the manipulation.

No one deserves a wound that doesn’t heal, but in the end
we all have one. The myth of safety – deception now
is subtler, more voracious, and less classical than when

Sophocles wrote. Today a surgeon might debride
the wound and suture it. Alternate arrangements for retirement
might be found, but Zeus won’t fix injustice at the end.