In the House of Apollon

O Apollon, while I stood transfixed
by your steady gaze, your daughter-snakes
coiled up my arms to kiss my ears —
but I am no Cassandra, denying the root
running sacral from tailbone to crown,
burrowing up into the eternity of you.
Welcome me to your door, then, chorister.
Let me scrub the well-traveled mudroom,
ordering every splendid shoe and coat in place.
May I proceed to the wide floors and wash
your ten thousand million shimmering delights
within the temenos of this holiest of homes.
I will kiss each wall’s well-placed stones.
I will set the offerings in their storing-places.
I will prepare the inner room, your singularity.
And when I sleep, O Loxias, let me weave
a mat of lyre-strings and laurel to hold my sore body;
I will choose some shallow corner to hold me.
When morning quickens the air, O God,
I will awaken, my throat buzzing with hymns.
I will wash the feet of your lovers and guests,
welcoming them to day; I will see them off
when they depart; I will purify their traces.
Perhaps, in the soft-rippling reflections
of the cleaning water or the chaos terrain
of my hands’ splitting skin, I will discover
that your image lay within me, pure as crystal,
every labor and weary moment stripping away
what does not belong in the exalted adytum.

This poem was inspired by thinking about the Metamorphoses of Apuleius, and specifically the myth therein of Eros and Psyche, and by thinking about the process of becoming as Godlike as possible.

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