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The Bishop’s Supper


ISSUE:  Spring 2015

Even before I speak
the gods are hawking answers,
vying for a slot above my head. 

From the mouth of a sphinx
they pour in droves:
the composite gods,

one-third ox,
one-third calf,
one-third claw;

the lesser gods, magicians,
snake charmers, lion tamers, 
rainmakers, soothsayers;

and all the sea divinities,
the woodland gods, imported from the city,
the faceless, agrarian gods.

In a pantheon no bigger than a search bar,
in a search bar no wider than a coffin,
I mouth my prayers

as the bishop begs his supper,
as the blind geometer
chews his perfect triangles.

What blood is on my lips?
I pucker like Sick Bacchus,
clutching grapes I never picked.

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