Zeus said, “I have the worst headache
of my whole life since the beginning.”
Zeus thought, “Hera is a pain, but not
like this that is so near my center.”
He swaddled his head in dense cloud
dimming the sun but got no relief.
Since gods are two –year- olds
writ large, he threw a temper tantrum,
scattering thunderbolts to the horizon
so shepherds feared for their flocks
and those lucky ones who had skins
of wine, drank deep as they worried.
Zeus’ tantrum was of no avail, so he
changed times and donned human guise.
He presented himself at dusk to an ER
in San Antonio, one more droplet
in a brown river of nameless suffering
and told the triage nurse that he had
“the worst headache of my whole life
since the beginning” – she came awake.
Zeus lay in the tube of the MRI listening
to noise with none of thunder’s glory.
When he came out, the resident told him,
“Listen Mr. Z we have to operate.
You have the largest aneurysm anyone
here has ever seen. You’ll die if it bursts.”
Just then the pain became even more
lancinating and a small patch of mist
burst forth from his forehead and grew
and grew and took form even as it grew
to be as large as Zeus himself, but with
gray-green eyes whose depth was wonder.
“Ah,” said Zeus, “Pallas Athena herself.”
“Becoming, great Zeus, is suffering,”
said the wise one, daughter of depths
and foolishness and thunder, too.”
Then they disappeared, Zeus and Athena
in just a single patch of cloud, moonlit.
“How should I document this?” the resident
asked the chief of the ER, old Watkins
who replied, “My back aches, my feet hurt –
just let yourself go and use your imagination.”