Saturday, October 17, 2009

Two Poems by Heather Anastasiu

by Heather Anastasiu

the language of gods

The gods delight in blood,
gulping up the libations
of man, since man began
to live and bleed.

But man became modern
and subdued the animal within,
or at least, became adept
at covering it up, tidying and hiding
with clothes and shoes and
high-rise lofts and suburbs, with
stilettos and secret addictions.

The gods must be sanitized too –
representation must replace actuality.
Ripped flesh is exchanged with baking bread;
Blood substituted with wine and words.
But how long will the gods allow
this pretence of worship without spilt blood?

What do these ceremonial remembrances compare
to a virgin’s bloody sacrificial flesh?
Or to beasts and birds and reptiles split open on the altar,
gullets slit into a bowl for the gods’ cup,
and flesh roasting over the open fire,
the aroma pleasing to the gods?

Blood with fire is the language of gods.
Destruction and despair.
No sacrifice without blood.
No forgiveness without fire.


the journey down

It is the finger of the gods which swirl the water,
from the whirlpool at the end of the world,
spreading the chaos ever outward.

Deadly riptides,
and soft froth lapping,
deeps and shallows,
salty and sweet,
destructive and demure.

Even when my strength fails,
as it inevitably must,
and I sink down and down,
watching the surface light dwindle
as my dead weight descends,
I feel warm as I grow cold,
bright as the light fades,
embraced rather than suffocated.

We are all dying –
why not enjoy the journey down?

Author bio:

Heather lives just south of Austin, Texas. She has a Bachelor's in Theology and is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Literature at Texas State University. She has work forthcoming in Permafrost, The Houston Literary Review, and Mud Luscious. Find out more at: Heather Anastasiu.

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