Tereus in Texas

A broken man steps
            between posturing peasants,
his hawk eyes
            seeking relief in local dives spies
a Procne swallow. Sallow sickly yellow.
A bird of prey, shameless in his suffering,
            left muttering,
“I have within me him who I want.”

A chorus greets from seats
            leather broken beats
a country rhythm. They shout, cry, shy
            and pose in Ego’s shadow.
A favorite haunt for half men,
phony Texans eat breaded strips of Ityeus,
            gobbling, devouring,
and Tereus stuttering,
“I have within me him who I want.”

No curious chorus for shame
            the victors, garlanded with spit,
chew on children and childhood.
The buffet a banquet
            and boys know
Tereus will not stomach
            so much insult
as Procne weaves a broken narrative,
            a token affection and loss
still offers a terror and Tereus suffering:
“But I have already eaten,
            already eaten,
            already eaten,
and I have within me him who I want.”

Will the Furies fall upon the chorus,
            their smacking lips and greasy fingers
feign no guilty hand
(though their thumbs point earthward)
            take pleasure in any shame
other than their own
            celebrate deceit and devastation
severed tongues and severed hands
            philomel fucking in the back of a Ford
cowboy style.
            His hollow bones batter
the headlight stars in feathered rage
as evening’s children scatter and pray
that they all turn to birds
and they all fly away.