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"The Lame God Can Barely Stand"

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Hephaestus
     in his workshop,
     surrounded by intricate craft,
     can take no pleasure
     in his work.

Not while his forge-scarred fingers
     burn
          from this latest delivery
          from the hands of Messenger Iris,
          from his wife-
               no, from his ex-wife now,
          from his beautiful ex-wife,
               the goddess of love,
               the goddess of beauty,
               the goddess of pleasure,
                    but not,
                    it seems,
               the goddess of fidelity.

And also from him.

     From him!

          the god of ugly misshapen emotion,
          the god of twisted unnatural combats,
               and of whatever else she sees in him.
Ares!

Aphrodite!

Ares and Aphrodite!

The lame god can barely stand
     to say their names.
The lame god can barely stand
     to look into in his forge-scarred hands
          at the wedding invitation.

"They'll want a gift,"
     thinks Hephaestus,
     Lord of the Forge, 
          and then he smiles,
          and then he smirks,
          and then he laughs
     loud enough
to shake the foundations of his volcanic lair.

He was wrong.

He can take pleasure in his work,
     after all.

Greg R. Fishbone
July 2020

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