Poseidon was easier than most. He calls himself a god, but he fell beneath my fingers with more shaking than any mortal. He wept when my robe fell from my shoulders. I made him bend his back for me, listened to his screams break like waves. We defiled that temple the way it should be defiled, screaming and bucking our way from corner to corner. The bitch goddess probably got a real kick out of that. I'm sure I'll be hearing from her. She'll give me nightmares for a week or so; that I can handle. Or she'll turn the water in my well into blood; I'll scream when I see it, and that will be that. Maybe my first child will be born with the head of a fish. I'm not even sure it was worth it, Poseidon pounding away at me, a madman, losing his immortal mind because of the way my copper skin swells in moonlight. Now my arms smoke and itch. Hard scales cover my wrists like armour. C'mon Athena, he was only another lay, and not a particularly good one at that, even though he can spit steam from his fingers. Won't touch him again. Promise. And we didn't mean to drop to our knees in your temple, but our bodies were so hot and misaligned. It's not every day a gal gets to sample a god, you know that. Why are you being so rough on me? I feel my eyes twisting, the lids crusting over and boiling, the pupils glowing red with heat. Athena, woman to woman, could you have resisted him? Would you have been able to wait for the proper place, the right moment, to jump those immortal bones? Now my feet are tangled with hair, my ears are gone. My back is curving and my lips have grown numb. My garden boy just shattered at my feet. Dammit, Athena, take away my father's gold. Send me away to live with lepers. Give me a pimple or two. But my face. To have men never again be able to gaze at my face, growing stupid in anticipation of that first touch, how can any woman live like that? How will I be able to watch their warm bodies turn to rock when their only sin was desiring me? All they want is to see me sweat. They only want to touch my face and run their fingers through my . . . my hair is it moving?
Two weeks after 17 students were gunned down in Parkland, Fla., hundreds of worshippers clutching AR-15s slurped holy wine and exchanged or renewed wedding vows in a commitment ceremony at the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary in Newfoundland, Pa.
Draped in thick silk the hue of hemorrhage and bone, you fondle
your butt stocks, muffled lust needles your cheeks. Your aim? To
make America great. Again,
your terse-lipped Lord has nudged you into the glare—numbed
and witless in His name, you preen and re-glue blessed unions,
mistake America straight, contend
your unloosed crave for the sugared heat of triggers. Besotted beneath
your crowns of unspent shells, you hard-rhyme vows and
quake, aware of that weight again,
the gawky, feral gush of fetish. Every uncocked groom and rigid
bride is greased and un-tongued, struck dumb by what’s at
stake. A miracle waits. You men
and women kaboom your hearts with skewered Spam and searing
pink Walmart wine, graze idly on ammo and blood-frosted
cake. A prayer is the bait. Amen
woos guests in their ball gowns and bird suits, hallows your blind
obsession with your incendiary intended. Though you’ve
faked America, hate upends
all this odd holy—its frayed altars, fumbled psalms, assault rifles
chic in itty veils. And we marvel at this
outbreak, bewaring that gate again,
left unlatched so this bright foolish can flow through. This ilk
of stupid blares blue enough to rouse ancestors—y’all ’bout to
make Amiri berate again,
’bout to conjure Fannie Lou and her tree-trunk wrists. While you
snot-weep, caress mute carbines, wed your unfathomable
ache, America waits. ’Cause when
the sacrament cools, and the moon is pocked with giggling, who’ll
fall naked first, whose shuddering tongue will dare the barrel?
Take that dare. Consummate. And then,
whose blood will that be?