The Labyrinth Keeper

August 29, 2016

Original

Anton Rose lives in Durham, U.K. He writes fiction and poetry, and is a Writers of the Future winner. Find him at antonrose.com or @antonjrose.

I tend to this place like my father did,
polish the marble at the outer walls,
water plants and clean the painted facades
of pots and vases, frescos and stone collages.

I’ve never laid eyes on the lord in the middle,
though a few times I’ve come close –
heard dry breath forced from acrid nostrils
or the scrape of sharpened hoofs or toes.

I bring the babes, bound and trussed
like wood for the fire,
bundled packages to sate the desire
of something awful.

Last time, a girl looked just like my daughter:
auburn hair, olive eyes, the pursed lips of her mother.
And what could I tell her?
They say it’s for the good of us all, but sometimes,
I wonder.

In that darkened night, I thought I heard her scream.

I fear if any of us were to look at his face
we would see not a monster, no idolatrous vision
of man and beast, the fetid product of ungodly union.
Instead, his flesh would be only like a mirror.

© Anton Rose

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