Conversation with Zeus

Anything can be a god if you’re not careful,
he says. Behind him, clouds crawl
over the mountain, drop into the valley
like petitioners.
                          It starts big enough.
They make deities for the usual things:
weather, war, women, that lot.
Soon enough they might be worshiping
spoons, boys with stringed instruments
and funny hair. Before you know it,
they hardly remember you
until you remind them.
                                       Thunder rolls
its promise over us. In the cramped
café, no one looks up.
                                    You see?
Even the pyrotechnics don’t awe them
anymore. I’d rather be a god of sports.
Plenty of postulants there. Or, hell,
a god of famine and abundance. There’s
never a shortage of starvation.

He picks at his muffin, complete
with its own stormcloud.
                                            You get comfortable,
that’s the problem, and they’re gone
before you even know to miss them.
They can’t even worship properly any more—
their new gods are sterile, shrink-wrapped
things. Not that we were much better.

He stands, his robes billow about
him, wind-tossed.
     I need to go.
The wife wants me back by nine.
As if women even want me now.

He slips down an alley, rain leaping
off his shoulders. A boy plays
in the torrent. Zeus rubs the boy’s
hair, blue sparks jumping from his fingers.