Friday, October 6, 2023

The Altar

This one is a cliff,
A couple thousand
Meters vertical,

Not looking any
More like an altar
Than the other cliffs

With different names—
Throne, Temple, Watchman—
In the area.

Marriage and slaughter,
Smoke and sacrifice,
This sunset for now—

Events at altars
Tend to be solemn,

You could, if you like,
Proffer the altar
To define humans—

The altaring ape.
What other species
Picks a place, a rock,

For ritual ends,
To heighten meaning,
Focus attention?

Power stands behind
An altar, victims
Lie on an altar,

Those undergoing
A symbolic change
In social status

Hold hands, bow their heads,
Embrace each other
Before an altar.

No one, or nearly,
Ponders, why altars,
Why these arrangements?

The question drifts off.
Sunlight’s the scapegoat
Tonight on the cliff.

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