the devil swings from a safari tree

the goddess is torn apart limb by limb and cast into a river of smoke
lampshade girls line the shore fetching out eyelashes, their lights stuttering
flakes of fool’s gold mining through their mesh hair

the devil wears a golden gown, collecting chicken eggs from ash
shells dyed with crimson flush and cream
and the dreams of the girls written in the cracks

before

the boys drug her by the crown, soiling and spilling her across the fields
paper flowers grew in the wake and the lightest breeze would lift them
to the sky she apologized for each of their sins as
they covered her mouth with mud, pillaged her
the lions and the lampshades looking away

when it rained they could hear the bell of her
echoing across the plateaus and safari trees
it changes the seasons still

the boys fell at the hem of gold, faces alight and hands drawn up
could only see clouds but when the devil kissed their cheeks
spiders crawled from their eyes, webbing across the earth

when the drought came the boys smoked in the heat
and whistled at the girls walking through the dust

after

now weeds grow through the roofs and the boys hang
from the safari trees, lions and flies licking their toes

the lampshade girls tent at the riverbed
sew up the eggshells with golden thread
and dip their hair into her altar each morning
they feast on smoked fish and pomegranates
weave blankets of flowers and wait for the rains

in a village across the stars
a gentle boy picks a spider from his cheek
and wets his lips

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