False Dawn

Wim Coleman is a playwright, poet, novelist, and nonfiction writer. His poetry has been published in SOL: English Writing in Mexico, The Opiate, Dissenting Voice, Tuck Magazine, and Vita Brevis. His play The Shackles of Liberty was the winner of the 2016 Southern Playwrights Competition. Novels that he has co-authored with his wife, Pat Perrin, include Anna’s World, the Silver Medalist in the 2008 Moonbeam Awards, and The Jamais Vu Papers, a 2011 finalist for the Eric Hoffer/Montaigne Medal. Wim and Pat lived for fourteen years in Mexico, where they adopted their daughter, Monserrat, and created and administered a scholarship program for at-risk students. Wim and Pat now live in Carrboro, North Carolina. They are members of PEN International.


False Dawn

“What if you are a great soldier? That’s just a gift of god.”
The Iliad, 1.211,
Robert Fagles, trans.

Swift-footed Achilles, soles callused from strident sleeping,
you dashed like hail across stony dreams
till you glimpsed a glow beyond a ridge—
the dawn of your own mind.

The sun was a glass shield backed with gold
and it displayed your image head to foot.
But as you watched it rise the morning haze
blurred it from showing what you might become

or from striking you blind to all you’d been.
And like a child, you thought the sun a blithe
inviting tangerine and rushed to snatch it—
but then the goddess seized you by the hair

and pulled you back.

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