They gave the gods attributes
to disguise the cruel depth of their symmetry.
There were only two, split apart
into infinite pairs. Those first
were alike in their single difference:
one was more canny with his hatred
than the other. He held it close,
descending on lovers with barbs
that unfolded from his veiled loins
at the most final and tender moments
while she razed the earth raw
to make their sons pace through death
until a city heaved up around it.
We come to the eventual human error,
in which they loved one another.
If we shipped them to another planet
the same brilliant chambers would rise up
screaming above and below them.
Some of their multitudes wear snakes
around their wrists, others come with a mass
of tumbling and ripened fruit, healing naked minds
with their exquisite panoplies of disorder.
A person has to work backwards
from that overflowing shelf of concoctions
to ever see the world for what it is:
a place that uncouples itself to admire
the error it keeps making with its double.
This is what time does. Not a line,
or a circle finishing off, but a gasp
bent on the pleasure of coming true
on its way out from the chest.
In these matters there is no conclusion
except the way I seem to stare into every pond
and think of swanning down, how
if I looked back I might see no ripple
between where I stood and the gulf behind me.