TW: Rpe, Sucide
Dionysus wipes his hands
With a wine dark-cloth,
His bar the confessional booth, for gods and mortals.
The absinthe green of his eyes loosens tongues
until their sins fall from their mouths like snakes and stones,
clattering onto the tarnished marble bar.
The stinking incense of each dog-eared dollar,
sustains him in its foul smoke,
the muttered prayers over empty glasses
chants and cries and pains and joys
Falling over each other like drunken feet,
Weaving themselves into stories
He recounts to Ariadne in the morning
As she folds laundry, and he does the dishes.
The threads of small mortal lives hanging around them untethered.
His patrons check their best at the door, he knows this,
He still has the best wine in the city
Even if they ***** it into the storm drain outside.
Asclepius stops in after his 12 hour shift
The blood of an attempted suicide on his scrubs,
the pull of a thousand witnessed deaths curled around his hip flexors,
Trying to drag him down with every step.
Still, he moves like a snake through sand,
The soundless strength of his movements
Ripple a wake of quietness, hallowed calm
On the floor they call him gentle giant
Always ask him to work full moons.
Artemis never did like him,
But the mortals are stilled
Under his hands.
Cracked and dry from over-washing
His knuckles bleed when he reaches for his glass.
At home Epione will take them in hers,
Rub lotion into the palms with the pad of her thumb, working her way in concentric circles all the way out, tenderest on the backs of his hands and their maze of scales and interstices,
The strong cherry-tang scent of almonds rising from their fingers.
At work sometimes he will feel the ghost of her touch
Crave it, as the sanitizer and soap smart against his skin,
This is an old intimacy they have always shared—the meeting of fingers, the firm pull of her thumb against palm,
And sometimes the way she traces the faded green lines of the serpent tattoos that twine around his forearms,
The slow caress of her index finger, the tiny scrape of her nail
Until her hand encircles his neck, cradles the serpent’s head
And she leans in to kiss him.
He will go home to her in an hour
When he is warm from the whiskey
And his mind is a little softer,
Some of the blood washed away.
Men are curing men
But they always find new ways to **** others
Athena’s seat is in the back, near the fire escape,
Where the shattered vinyl of the seat
Scrapes her thighs like desert sand.
Steel eyes to the door,
She gulps ***** neat.
After her second deployment, it’s the only thing that stills her hands.
Her pearled teeth gnaw the end of a burned cigarette—
If she chews hard enough,
the tobacco replaces the taste of her staff sergeant’s tongue, his breath, his blood.
Bodies in the dark, the vice-gripped wrists,
She bit, she clawed, she kicked,
the muscles weakened by so few prayers
the dim fire in her eyes could not muster a single flash,
a flintlock in rain,
and she was another nymph, another Cassandra—
No one believed,
no one believed.
She can still feel Cassandra’s arms locked around her calves,
hear Ajax’s guttural grunts,
she understands now.
But for her there was no temple, no statue,
She tries to cling to herself,
But falls away to dust,
The guttural grunts of the staff sergeant echo as
The memories drag her, screaming, across her bedroom floor
Poseidon cannot drown them,
Only ***** can
And no one believes,
Goal was to write a modern interpretation of Greek gods and goddesses. Title drawn from Niel Anderson's album/song.