Nate Pritts


A priest of Zeus has a tough job.
For instance, he might have to say things like:

The omens were good that day you brought us joy-
                be the same man today!

Where I'm from, that kind of talk
can get you a punch in the mouth
faster than a Delphic oracle could yell "Duck!"

A priest of Zeus has to handle being called "Priest"
all the time, never by his first name
which is a slow & persistent sorrow.  Think about
your own name grown rusty with lack of use!

Also, no one ever invites a priest of Zeus anywhere.
Friday comes & the long Theban weekend
stretches out empty as the Acropolis
twenty minutes after a play ends.

People think, "Oh, it must be great to be a priest of Zeus,

for doesn't the Big Guy constantly call you up
& give you all the inside dirt on our wretched state:
which town He'll flood or who He'll transmogrify
into a wolf-demon for real or imagined slights,"
or people say, "If I were a priest of Zeus
I'd tell Him to turn you into a cloud & let the sun burn you off
for letting your dumb sheep break my fence again."

What people don't realize is that it's not a two way street.
Zeus never asks His priests for advice
about who to rape next, or which city-state to favor
in whichever dispute.

Zeus never has the priests over on a Sunday afternoon
to drink ambrosia & watch the game on his Olympus-sized tv.

A priest of Zeus lives a sad lonely doomed human life.
He's reminded of it by his boss everyday.

Nate Pritts is the editor of H_NGM_N & the author of three chapbooks of poetry; the most recent, THE HAPPY SEASONS, is available online from Swannigan & Wright. Other poems have appeared in/will be in Southern Review, Forklift, POOL, DIAGRAM, 42opus, storySouth, horse less review, Cimarron Review & many others. He lives in Natchitoches, LA, with his wife Rhonda & their kids: Kate, Dylan & Laney (& Oscar the dog).

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