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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.