Proteus At Carpathus

A cento from Sylvia Plath, Patricia Smith, Joy Harjo, Ocean Vuong, Roger Reeves, Dianne Seuss, Dorianne Laux, Ada Limón, Joan Wickersham, Kenzie Allen

You house your unnerving head—God-ball,
Poseidon pounding away at me, a madman,
but our bodies were so hot and misaligned.

Breathe in, knowing we are made of
stillness. My god, he was still
a priest with no mouth
— not the bull but the depth.

Don’t worry. Just call it horizon
& mistake these walls
no higher than a pile of dried leaves.

Boxed fathers buried deep are still fathers,
the one you beat to the punchline,
Not the nights you called god names, not
a creature of liminal spaces,
These bones are never buried.

Sometimes the stories wait for you.