He’s formed wrong-halved,
uniquely, unlike the people-faced
hybrid creatures: muscled centaurs,
foliage-shaded satyrs,
sleek mermaids weaving water,
flicking light with iridescent tails.
He bears his heavy cow head
above shivering human knees
and mollusk-soft genitals.
Misfit of the half-breeds,
he shames; reminder always
of the royal wife crouched, lowing
in moonlight for her stud bull.
It’s no wonder he’s bitter
in that stained labyrinth littered
with dry bones, the stench
rising from blood-matted fur,
animal-heat misting from his nostrils.
He hates as one can only hate
when others are repulsed.
The Athenian youth are sent,
bedewed and draped in terror,
and his halfling heart beats faster.
They scream at his approach.
He grunts, distressed again,
then devours them—
but watch with what slow tenderness
he pauses, dismembering
each lovely, sweet-fleshed woman.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 28 Number 10, on page 27
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