Jody Azzouni


Natural Childbirth is a Must

Published 1995 on a postcard
Added 6/19/2020
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Natural Childbirth is a Must

Poem | Jody's Notes


Think of Zeus.

First it starts as a headache,

as if his brain is a fetus trapped in his skull.

Wombs, for the most part, survive birth-trauma.

Eggs do not. The real story (no one told)

climaxes with Athena cooing

among the shards of her father’s skull,

something gray and bloody

leaking through her hands.


You can paste a skull back together again

(if you are gods).

You can stuff anything

(that happens to be lying around)

into the skull cavity

and the result will walk.

But despite the semantics of the word,

there are limits to omnipotence.


The official story is that she didn’t have

a childhood. But in point of fact

the intellect is omnivorous;

and the cynical and uncaring gods laughed

while they watched her cling to his chest

like a leech (cute as a button

with teeth),

the gore dripping onto the thick rug

as he shuffled back and forth.

(He giggled vacantly whenever he touched

something  metallic.)


Years later, stories circulate

of a demented rabbit vainly hopping up

under a woman’s dress or a divine idiot

raping a scarecrow. “He moves

in mysterious ways,” peasants chortle.

Meanwhile, gods die

(under peculiar circumstances):

A flayed Pan found hours before

Athena wears her new fur; Poseidon

drowned; Hades buried alive; Aphrodite …

details are sketchy.


Centuries pass and we don’t hear much

except for occasional hints: a god

who sires himself on his virgin mother

(under suspicious circumstances),

a cosmos haunted by a holy ghost

(whose? we wonder).

Meanwhile, desperately secular,

we use lightning to run egg-beaters

and hope for the best.