with thanks to Mark

Rich in power, rich in madness.

God-touched, he takes to the fields, braying poetry, words choking his mouth like thistles. Dreamstuff, barbed and inedible. He wakes lashed with dew. His legs grow ropy with muscle, palms hoofed with callus, his back cracked and hunched in subjugation.

A hand of fire writing unreadable truths; a pearl drowned in acid. His empire, the engine of his laws, the brand he left inedibly burned into their stones, their songs, their knowable names. They curse him in his own conquerer tongue.

Feet of clay.

He sees a mountain split with fire and a fig tree speaking prophecy. Bound by no human tongue he runs his mouth green-stained with the long grasses of his diet. But still seven years a king. They find him there, his faithful counselors, and cover him with linen robes, and walk him backwards to the seat of his power.

Golden his face, beaming on his return, more than holy, less than human. His own eyes, clever, canny and more than royally wise. Owl’s eyes, bull’s eyes; eagle’s eyes that have looked full into the sun, and not blinked — eyes impossibly unblinded and unseeing.