THE PROMETHEAN

Jaime Zuckerman

ISSUE ELEVEN | FALL 2018

They are blackened by their business // they burn in the name of Prometheus // burn the suburbs // until all that’s left // is flattened & fecund // & they can see // far as the vanishing point // survive on the spoils // that bloom the Beginning.

 

:::

 

Believe this: Prometheus // spake unto me & said // start fires // it’s the true path to godhood // also we have some atoning to do // for this shit mess we’ve caused // so burn it all down // & like a fucking phoenix // let’s rise again // into the kingdom of godhood

 

When I touch // each flammable thing // matter reduces itself overnight // & morning shepherds black fields // smoking in the dew // the horizon is essential // I am the witness // I am the glory

 

*

Now a following of six disciples // a sacred cow named Lucy // pulls a baby blue Toyota // loaded with tents // & tools of destruction // & the divine seeds // of new growth // which we gather & sort  // & learn to love // keep them warm & dry // together we return // the earth to earth // ashes to ashes // let us rise from this waste // I am thy prophetess

 

*

My tongue is a lit match

 

*

Believe this: hell is a hungry mouth // & this place these identical houses // this is hell // we must torch every inch // of the fucking suburbs // those pale green houses // garages mailboxes stop signs // yea all is reborn flame // becomes riotous untamable gardens // between fields of ash

 

*

Believe This: we gather // at night // fire on the horizon // fire roasting food // I speak unto my people: // fire is life as well as death // we are the eagle // as well as the children // of Prometheus // today’s raccoon hast given // in life as in death // thus we chant we share // in the eating of liver // thus the liver is life sustaining // say it : Prometheus was martyred // for us

 

*

We found a shopping mall // empty fountain as its heart // sledge hammers & flame throwers // & still it took us a moon to flatten // now plastic plants are melted // gobs of green // & a forest will find & fill // the Atrium Mall // a new kind of heaven

 

*

Believe this: your heart // beating & failing // you are not prepared for godhood // until you redeem the maker // feed the fire // I am the hands of Prometheus // you are his tinder // your soul the spark

 

*

We travel & torch // whatever structures stand // along the blackened road // carrot flowers grasshoppers cattails // I collect & eat these gifts // in the merciful shade // of trees or ruins // shelter for the fire-lit night

 

*

Believe this: who in the past life // ever hovered a palm over // warm coals of a god’s work? // who ever held the smoking dawn? // matches lighters flamethrowers // these are the tools of redemption // gift of Prometheus // I am thy servant

 

*

Met another person // scuffed circles in the ashes suspicious // until violence // love knew us // we twisted til ashes // scraped off // skin & blood // oh humanity

 

*

The beauty of broken churches // in all that crumbling // architecture like whale ribs // rotting on a beach // we fucked // we were the inner organs // thump thumping away // our bodies lit with stained light // until the walls shaken // & the whole thing fell // around us

 

*

Believe this: the man was chosen // by Prometheus himself // & sure as shit // his seed planted in me // & will grow unto a new generation // the surety of godhood // the promise of the promisedland // I am thy prophetess

 

*

Ashes smudge again // my skin my shadow

 

*

My belly is a moon // & sloshing around // is the first child of the Beginning

 

*

Believe this: Prometheus maker of man // from mud & thoughts // spun together // the story sung again & again // so sacrifice bones // & feast on venison // for Prometheus gifted us fire // & all the destruction thereafter // the eagle eats his insides // feeds them to her young // each daytime // & nightly his liver blooms // so the story goes // resung now for you // child of Prometheus

 

Jaime Zuckerman is the author of two chapbooks, Letters to Melville (Ghost Proposal, 2018) and Alone in this Together (Dancing Girl Press, 2016) as well as recent or forthcoming poems in Diode, Forklift: Ohio, Fairy Tale Review, Foundry, Thrush, Vinyl and other journals. She serves as the poetry editor of Redivider, the art director for Sixth Finch, and a senior reader for Ploughshares. She grew up in the woods but now lives and teaches in Boston, MA.

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