Dark is the Night
If the Ancients could have seen their magical statues three thousand years on, broken and stripped, lips and fingers dissolving in the rain, shipped off to a place called civilized for safe storage, they might have thought Hephaestos the Halt should never have divorced Aphrodite the Hot. Without her, he went on building his robots, and those just went on building as they were built to do, long after the gods had died.
They built soot-stained industrial facilities backing up to toxic rivers, not unlike the glittering bath-houses of Crete. The ruined Acropolis lives on as a template for custom-houses. Even the old stories have gone flat: the gorgon is nothing but a serial killer, and Zeus no swan, no shower of gold, but a fat gray senator rumored to have a thing for interns.
The descendants of Hephaestos and Aphrodite go on hoping Zeus will make their parents get back together. They still imagine him showering them with his bitter light, in the form of a twister, scouring the made things down to ore. Her, they just blame.
Three thousand years on, Hephaestos’s robots are still building away. The seeds of Aphrodite and every living thing are now stored in Antarctic vaults. The place called civilized has sent a messenger deep into outer space, its tiny lights hoping to be noticed from Mount Olympus.
Katherine Williams has published four chap books and read at venues from the L.A. Poetry Festival to the College of Charleston. A Pushcart and Best of the Web nominee, she has poems in Spillway, Projector, South Carolina Review, Measure, and elsewhere. She is a retired biomedical research technician living on James Island, SC.
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