A young king, swashbuckling, expensively schooled in rhetoric and swordplay, with your gold-threaded tunic and plumed helmet fitted over your patrician nose: so you tossed bandits off cliffs and captured a bull—what do you know about war? Labor is for peasants, labor pains for women. But you waded among the suppurating dead on the fields of Thebes and broke the pollution law by washing corpses with your own royal hands. “Which bodies are mine?” I thought, as Bill Arrowsmith paced back and forth holding out his hands— “With his own hands!’ he kept saying. “Defiled!” With his own hands he offered us glasses of dark red wine. We perched along his couch, on his armchairs, taking notes. We had not yet touched our dead. Our labors were just beginning, mainly in library stacks and the pages of dictionaries. “Sophrosyne,” Bill barked, “The virtue of moderation,” with his round, sun-browned, wrinkled satyr’s face and black eyes flashing immoderately just a few years before he toppled, alone in his kitchen, his heart ceasing its labors and his corpse becoming the labor of someone else’s hands.

Already have an account? Log in

Want to keep reading? Join our community:


Support great writing by becoming a full subscriber to Liberties Journal.

Subscribe Today

Free Preview

Sign up with your email address, and access two free articles per month.

We hope you've enjoyed your free articles!

Become a full subscriber for only $50/year, (33% off cover price).

Thank you for supporting great writing.

Subscribe Today
Log In Subscribe

Sign Up For Free

Read 2 free articles a month after you register below.

Register now