Pagan Providence

by Eli Petzold

published March 7, 2014


where wood statues of the old gods stand at the meeting of

two rivers,

withered and withering in wind and water.

once proud, now they stare

on a still, cloudy day, at their forms

in silver mirror bay water.


a pilgrim comes from a land of car-flattened crows,

decomposed coyote bones

across black deserts

where whale vertebrae and tern

feathers bleach in midnight sun—

waste of giants’ feasts.


they brought the goddess’ corpse

down the hill in a bulldozer and

brought her to the boat

where we stood

in mourning blue.


hydrangeas, dried in february,

are like paper—

are paper on which i write my pagan songs.


the wise build their homes on stone—

but i’m a fool to glide along creeks,


cycling from temple to silent temple,



punkish imps

under leafless trees,

under condominium windows,

silent (sound of snowplows and trash trucks nearby)

follow overgrown train tracks to their origin

beyond the wolf-maw gate.


our deer king,

humble hart,

pierced five times and left to die

by the swamp where hollow televisions float.


wednesday at dawn,

i hung myself from the ash tree,

pierced in the side by my own spear.

nine hungry nights, upside down,

and on friday morning i had nine songs to sing.


friday mourning, we pushed the boat into the bay,

unmanned, but for the old ones,

and their treasures.

the wise, nor the warsome

can say who might receive

that cargo.