We knew we were in the wrong, fighting for
Contraband. What we grasped wasn’t ours.
Still we fought for Helen, like swallows guarding their nest,
Swooping and divebombing from Troy’s turrets.
When Paris stole Helen, passion stirred in us.
Little thought we gave to Menelaus
With Helen’s contraband fragrance penetrating our walls
Like the musk of a rosebud disarming, petal by petal.
Cold Athena’s shield and helmet kept her
At arm’s length from human caress;
She who had burst forth fully armored
From her father Zeus’s head underestimated us.
And yet, though Athena’s steel nerves
Did not admit breath on skin
(For what could Athena know of passion?),
Neither did Athena’s wisdom allow for surrender.