Apologies to the Goddess


Lilith, I got you all wrong. I’d long
written you off as cliche, but on this sunny

post-millenium day you’re closer & less
witchy than the demonic goddess my stoned

out girlfriend revered with chants
& candles. I imagine you — cheeky, indolent

& protecting my backyard, a dominion
of disintegration. Slick mud & powderpost

beetles overtake it, not just the winged
archangel staked in the garden through

15 years of Tennessee tornadoes, but a plaster
statue of Mother Mary, now crumbling

& covered with wet dead
leaves & millipedes. An ant gnaws through an oak

wing & moss spreads on Mary’s diminishing
headscarf as if for her warmth & comfort. I ask

for one more chance to get it right.  Oh rogue
goddess, I have misjudged.


The Lord ordered you to live with the fat
bastards & abscessed howlers, the ones

terrified of your desire. Oh, what a job;
to be given dominion over all devouring

hoards. So frightened they hallucinated
you & your maligned spirit buddies in thousand

fold swarms at their long windows. In Babylonia
they etched you on incantation

bowls, buried your image upside down
& underneath their baked-brick homes. Today

I imagine you as a comforter. At the gallows
with Salem’s damned. Swirling the funeral

pyre of Pratibha Khan, stoned
to death beyond recognition by her father

& brother for romancing a boy in a nearby
village. You are at the landfill guiding

fertile cycles of decay among fast-food
wrappers & mattress springs. In the cold

clinic cradling the aborted. Lingering at my back
door — banished & misunderstood.