'One of them grants you the ability
to forecast the future; another wrenches
your tongue from your mouth, changes you
into a bird precisely because you have been
given this gift. The gods are generous
in this way. I learned to avoid danger, avoid fear,
avoid excitement, these the very triggers that prompt
my wings from their resting place deep inside.
And so, I avoided fights, avoided everything really.
In the locker room, I avoided other boys,
all the while intently studying that space
between their shoulder blades, patiently looking
for the tell-tale signs, looking to find even
one other boy like me, the wings buried but
there nonetheless. I studied them from a distance.
When people challenge a god, the gods curse them
with the label of madness. It is all very convenient.
And meanwhile, a god took the form of a swan
and raped a girl by the school gates. Another
took the shape of an eagle to abduct a boy
from the football field. Mad world.
And what about our teachers? Our teachers
expected us to sit and listen. In Theology, there was
a demon inside each of us; in History,
the demons among us. So many demons
in this world. Who among us could have spoken up
against the gods, the gods who continued living
among us? They granted wishes and punishments
much the way they always had. Very few noticed them
casually taking the shape of one thing or another.'
The Gods Among Us