Christopher Lee Miles's work appears in Salamander and War and Literature & the Arts. He lives in Fairbanks. Alaska.
When Phaeton rode his father’s snorting horses
the earth bore flame. One end opens towards hell
the other closes on heaven. One of the men
I am nurses his rage with bottles of toxin. He cannot
hold his flame’s center between both far ends.
Clench-jawed, he bores through women to reach
the worm inside himself. Mother told me
to listen to the Lord when I pray. I said
I do, but he does not speak. Not the earth
nor the tribes he scorched but Phaeton himself
I pity. The man pries a crucifix from the church
so Jesus won’t remind him he must die
to be reborn. And sometimes both far ends
close and I grip nothing as hard as something
I should let go. Like the man. Mother said
Hell is on the inside, that the Lord does not speak
because he listens. And that is what you hear.