All these years and still his brain will recoil,
As mute thought rebels, against the edict:
A poet found wandering the high roads
Shall be stripped of lute and pen and the name
Of the unspeakable god shall be tattooed
Across his breast. Thenceforth the snake he wore
Flicked at one small nipple a tongue like teeth.
He was beheaded, his body left nude,
Skinned nearly raw, simulacrum removed,
Mere blackened meat to feed the Thracian crows.
Legless drunk all these centuries of turmoil,
Like flotsam his head tossed from whore to whore,
He loses in this game all sense of who
She was and why he sang for her before
The darkness and the thoughtful silence came.
—from Prepositional Heaven (River City, 2001)