The Cannibal God
Smith Browne

          He was tender
his cock, tender, as I swallowed,
chewed, and swallowed more. Flesh
the envy of all other flesh,
sweet without bones.
He owed me the bones,
and I would have swallowed him whole
if my mouth were wide enough. Father—
you are wider than my mouth.

          He hears me through my generation:
Kronos, you will one day have children,
my father vowed, and they will slay you.
So, I eat them. I swallowed my father,
so I might live. I eat my children,
so I might not die.

          They are kind to me, my children,
for they have no taste.
They leave behind no bile, as they slide
down my gullet, past my heart,
straight to my bowels. They are not bitter,
for they know what they owe to me,
for I am the father of Time: No, Kronos,
you will one day swallow stones.

Do they curse me! Then I purge them!
I shit their fortune to the earth
and make it my own.

          They were tender to you,
she reminds me, my wife,
recalling how they used to grease my
scalp and braid my hair with sweet,
suckling vine. But was it not tied so tightly
to my mane that it had little choice
but to root its way into my scalp? Time devours,
and they are the children of Time,
the Ripener, the Harvester.

          Kind. Kind!
Is she gone mad? Has she forgotten
how they burst her open each
by each, life after clawing life,
tearing into existence at our expense,
at the expense of her sweet, young flesh,
her spit, her piss, her milk, Rhea, my
finest queen, they learned to live
by taking your years. They are not for you
to feed from, jealous Kronos. It is for them
to feed from us.
And that is what I
will never forgive.

          What is it you fear, my beloved?
I ignore her. I clamp my mouth and utter
no blessing upon the swelling current
in her womb. What do you fear? Her eyes
are entreaty itself for that blasted curse striving
to be born. I shall face the ocean and speak
no words. Come, beloved, face away from the wind.
A limb brands her flesh from the inside, raging out.
Come, the sands blow and raw your flesh.
I will not turn.

          Dear implacable love! I will eat him too,
this new bursting of her womb. I shall eat
her very womb, if it bursts this new terror upon me.
Look! She sees me plan my next meal. See her eye!
Are you hungry too, my Rhea? do you too wish
to partake of the future? But they always bury us,
our children. Kronos, they bury us. It is the way.

Poor Rhea. I defy the way.

          Then eat stones, Kronos, then eat

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