Reginald Shepherd


The New Gods

closely resemble the old gods, except for the tailored wool suits
and backless silk gowns. There is no question of copyright
violation or even self-plagiarism (self-parody either), gods will be
gods, have been so long they forget each new habit
as soon as it’s formed. The same languid gestures to dismiss
or bestow or destroy, the same inability to distinguish
among those, or perhaps it’s sheer indifference, what difference
does it make to a god? The train derails at the crossing
or pulls into the suburban station two minutes ahead
of schedule, the cheaply built overpass collapses during rush hour
or holds up through the mild tremor. Sundown, moonrise, it’s all the same
to a god, time is circular, after all, and rather repetitious,
this circular features so many special offers who could choose?
Not I, says the god on a barstool enjoying an afternoon Campari
and soda, Not we, say the gods sunning themselves on the upper deck
with half-closed eyes and lots of sunscreen, and everything
starts happening at once, again as if for the first time, the last
time, last time this happened it was like this, or was it
like that, look, the casino has just opened, do you
feel lucky today? Lord knows I do. God,
it’s hot today, or too damned cold, but just you wait
and the weather will change, whether you want it to or not.

© 2008 Electronic Poetry Review