Look what you have done now:
gone and made me a god. Didn’t I
breathe my breath into some mud and
stir you into life. Didn’t someone
reach in and take a rib bone from
me back when all I was
was a man?
Wasn’t there a fall from grace?
It was all so long ago that I may have
some details wrong, but it seems there
was a void and a wound and some thrashing
around and a lot of blood. The taste of steel
on the tongue, the liquid snake-feel of muscle.
A blow and darkness. Water moving
on the face of the void.
That old story.
Then some period of wonder. I remember flowers
that smelled so sweet it made your mother and I swoon.
We’d lie down together in the scented shadows and talk
until the moon rose over the trees. Maybe you were a baby
then. Maybe you slept between us, pinching the soft skin
of your neck as you nursed at your mother’s breast.
Maybe I wasn’t even there. I know I took long walks in the
tangled jungle with a club, looking for something.
Perhaps I got lost. Or drove you away. Maybe I kept walking
as the land rose and the trees thinned out and there was ice
and hard rock and the going got harder. I skinned my knee and
watched the blood well up from the blue wound.
Clouds enveloped me. I stopped breathing.
It could be that I curled up on my side and wept bitterly.
Or a man came and we wrestled until dawn or a snake swallowed me
and I cut my way out of his belly or was it a whale.
Whatever. I woke up and was stiff. Alone. I made my way to the
edge of the clouds and looked down and there, far, far below,
was the circle of green. Like a garden. Trees and flowers.
Your mother washing clothes down by the river, you
talking to a man holding a flaming sword.
I call out to you, but you can’t hear me or won’t.
I want to come down from here now. I know there is something
I need to tell you, and something I need to give to you that
I forgot to give you when I left.
Now the man swings his sword. Your mother looks up from her washing.
Someone takes you by the hand. You are running, looking back.
Or I imagine that. You get smaller and smaller and it
is hard to say for certain.
But I tell myself that you were.