Zeus with the migraine that was Athene
smashed his skull open on his stepson’s maul,
split free a tall spear of a girl
as unbreachable as logic and beguiling as a myth
while the lag–footed blacksmith
glanced down at his burnt hands
and faded underground again.
A god who crashes once to earth
buries himself within it, forge–roaring Etna
and the tindery fields of Claudius’ Ostia
hammering out the shape of fires to come,
lyre–lit Rome, the charred olives of Athens
and the armor that saved Achilles
as surely as a poem turns aside a bomb.
Get out of my head, older artificer,
take axe and tongs if you have to,
you cannot break this grip of pain on me.
I will smelt it fine as silver,
chase out wild leaves and Gorgoneia,
a dancing–floor running with ocean at the rim,
and hold it nightly against the deaths that gather
like inspirations, pecking to get in.