Hostile Country

Each golden filament
on his arms
rises in protest.
The god’s spine shrivels
like a snake expelled
from its warm stone.

Despite the patch of sunlight
eager to touch him
as most women are,
he senses shadow groping
for purchase, the trees’
darkness winning over light.

Each leaf should shiver joy
at his coming. Instead,
needles bristle like quills,
grizzled limbs bar his way,
slim branches slap his face,
twigs trip the divine feet.

No place for a picnic,
he decides,
and wanders elsewhere

while under loam
oak, pine and elm
reach out roots
to comfort
the new laurel.


[Sandi Leibowitz is a native New Yorker who seeks the gods and goddesses in leafy places and lofty spaces.  Her speculative fiction and poetry, often based on myths and fairy-tales, may be found in Not One of Us, Inkscrawl, Stone Telling, Strange Horizons, Mythic Delirium, and elsewhere.  One of her poems was selected by Ellen Datlow for inclusion in The Best Horror of the Year, vol. 5. ] 

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