Raymond Luczak is the author and editor of 29 books, including ten poetry
collections such as Lunafly (Gnashing Teeth), Chlorophyll (Modern History Press),
and once upon a twin (Gallaudet University Press). His work has appeared in
Poetry, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. An inaugural Zoeglossia Fellow, he lives
in Minneapolis, Minnesota (USA) and online at raymondluczak.com.
No one remembers how their arguments started.
Zeus said, Hera said, that sort of thing.
It always ended with him aiming thunderbolt arrows
at her. He was a great hunter, but he always missed.
Deliberately. They swore to condemn each other
to the hissing pits of Tartarus, bubbling lava
with not a droplet of water in sight.
Then the Romans came and conquered everything.
Centuries wore down mortals into disbelieving.
Gods and goddesses who roamed the Pantheon were
neutered. But Zeus wasn't ready to retire. Oh, no!
He still taunted her with a longer list of her friends
he'd managed to seduce after their first year
of marriage. She pummeled him with pomegranates.
He stood his ground and stared into her eyes.
This time he didn't miss. She stumbled dead
into his arms. They melted in the fire of his tears.
We jaspilites are remainders of their veins.
If you ever find us off the Keweenaw Peninsula,
treasure our remains. One day you too will
bleed thunderbolts and pomegranates.
The Archangel Michael
In my dreams he stood as tall as my family's church.
His feet were as big as the cars parked across the street.
The hems of his robe picked up bits of rust and birch.
His granite-colored wings were wide as a city block.
His eyes were constantly scanning the horizon.
I prayed for strength against names thrown like rocks,
but no one ever responded. I left town for good.
My family's church was eventually dismantled.
Who knew that money could be stronger than blood?
He is no longer standing proudly above the skyline.
The entire town has become a crime scene.
His body, when felled, was too big to chalk in outline.
The ghost of his sky-wide wings still beat shadows
that whisper, Coulda-coulda-coulda, as he lights
each dream of prayer awaiting the sun's glow.
Night weaves into the strands of my hair
spinning the wheel of thoughts turning
until streetlamps cast their haloes
on the shadows of the man I used to be.
But I'm not dead yet. I'm walking,
with my dog's insistent nose leading me
back to the dreaming in my bed.
No matter how many times I try
with my camera, I can't capture
the right image of you.
Your face flickers like liquid gold,
gone in the blink of an eye.
Love is a hummingbird,
the moth of eternal light.
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