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Last updateTue, 06 Aug 2013 2am

Back You are here: Home Stories Words for the People Poetry Priority
Tuesday, 20 August 2013 04:18

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I like to think I’m an unusual
subject, i.e., somewhat
above the prevailing episteme.

We have so many gods, for instance,
and some of them are (just between us)
a conceptual hodgepodge. On the other hand,
my boss is the biggest man in District Five
and I’m honored to serve him. He has
his ways, but if you keep your tongue
firmly between your teeth, he probably
won’t shove a cactus spike through it.
After a bad harvest and months
of pond scum for dinner, we’re
all happy, before dawn on the big day,
to pole last year’s prisoners down
the canal. They’re fat, and thoroughly doped;
if you poke them (you aren’t
supposed to, of course, they’re sacred),
they jiggle. We bump other rafts;
the boss curses. We push through crowds on the Plaza,
then stand around while bigger chiefs
(there are some) send up their captives.
Finally the Temple guards drag
our bunch, feet slipping, to the top;
the priests, I mean Our Lady Death
gets the hearts, the rest is dropped into our baskets
and we sail home and feast. This year
I get a forearm, simmered all night
with squash-blossoms and tomatoes. Dawn
is breaking as I gorge myself.
Across town on the pyramid,
the blood still glistens, feeding the sun
(which is too weak to shine without
it, I have not the slightest doubt).

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Last modified on Wednesday, 21 August 2013 15:25
Frederick Pollack

Frederick Pollack is the author of two book-length narrative poems, THE ADVENTURE and HAPPINESS, both published by Story Line Press. He has numerous other poems in print and online journals. Adjunct professor creative writing George Washington University.

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