by Andy Rutledge

Where did the old gods
go when they were forgotten?

Sporadic black hairs poking out between the buttons
of a shirt stretched much too tight over damp fat,
Elvis Presley takes orders in a smoking diner,
greasing himself in the back,
at the grill, beside the sweating hamburgers
under the blind glare of a tin roof
under the blazing Nevada sun.

Virile and not willing to be behind any counter,
Zeus has been a purebred racehorse for centuries,
countlessly winning derby after derby after--
Painful injections are whooly unnecessary,
the speed, the velocity of a thunderbolt
clapped around like the snap of a whip--
Never one to be reduced to breeder status,
you'll nonetheless find him in the pastures,
his brown muscles oneness rippling
with each shaking jism--
mare after mare after--

It wasn't too long after opening an automobile
service center somewhere deep within the unknown midwest
that the brothers Jehovah, Jesus and Allah
took to extreme boredom and alcoholism.
No real particular evening to make it outstanding,
besides the heavy snowfall,
Jehovah and Alllah were all horned up in the blind
waiting for their buck to come sauntering by.
I forgot which one heard the rustling,
but the other aimed and fired.
When they found Jesus spreadeagled in a frothy, steamy patch of red,
one shot the other
and turned Jesus' rifle on himself.

Jim, Janis and Jimi--
they're plain dead.