"Parable of the Mountain Lion" on unsplendid.com
"4. from 'Four or Five Witches'" on The Prose Poems
Winner of Calyx's annual Lois Cranston Poetry Prize, 2006
Review on NewPages.com
War Stories

A father’s love is dangerous.

A son would die for it.

He mounts the slab and stretches out

while the old man hones the blades

glinting in the moonlight,

hearts in duet: See, father, see

how I love you?

And when the old man’s hand is stayed and the blade

falls harmless to the earth, they both rise up,

feeling blessed, grateful for their lives,

which they’ll rededicate, they’ll sacrifice, they’ll make

a religion of this.

No end to what a son will take

in the name of that love—

thorns in the skull, nails in the hand.

He’ll drink vinegar and say it’s wine.

He’ll hang crosswise in the wind

for hours believing he’ll wind up

in his father’s arms.

Night comes on. Saturn rises

in his monstrous hunger.

He raises his sons in his clumsy fist,

tears them with his dogged teeth.

Their blood slides down his chin,

he crushes their bones to pulp,

sucks down their hearts and livers and

loves them, oh, man, oh, brother, how

he loves them.

--Gail Griffin

  © 2014 Gail Griffin.   All rights reserved.   Contact Gail by e-mailing gail@gailgriffin.org.