Two Old Gods

Written by: Chula Fleming


Two old men.
That’s all; not much to look at.
Their frail, broken shadows shrunk against the sunny morning
Brightness slowly searching its way through gnarled branches
Overhead, and crisscrossing the red and black pieces
Upon their welcoming checkerboard.

I placed a solitary peanut into the waiting hands of a small, grey squirrel.
Withdrawing my offer of other gifts, I moved away;
Drawing closer to hear their wrinkled voices still
Clamoring over the last move of their deadly waiting game;
Spattering salty remarks with knowing chuckles of old combatants
Echoed former rattlings of their rusty swords.

Beneath their stubby beards sat the once strong, 
Straight line of a stubborn jaw, thrust at life;
Hot for the chase that breached the perimeters of grand arenas
As Time swept aside the long-suffering hours
And slowly chiseled away massive, symmetrical bone.

They had been young, sensuous men with lapping fire at their cores,
Melting away the wet walls of passion and the searing, sticky
Sting of a promising, promiscious tongue.
Yes, their passion was still lingering there,
Below the masks of debilitating age and cracking stone.

Their passion for life and pleasure still written across their
Wrinkled, wincing brows clearly there for anyone to read.
I wondered how many summers those faded eyes had squinted
Against a broiling sky and felt the power of that which they are---
Two old gods, sitting in the ruins of their shadowy kingdom passed,
Oblivious to the ticking of unearthly clocks.

Two faded, gnarled and twisted husks sat in peaceful friendship
Beneath the cool and darkening, park lined sky.
Below the surface of their shabby shrouds, pinpoints of eternal, celestral light
Sought the vaporous freedom of untethered ether.
Beneath the surface, the gods still flexed their mighty,
Quiescent muscles, forever young: aged mantles flung
Against Time’s eroding shores and fog misted dangerous rocks.