They Find Salvation~

by Sy Roth


They Find Salvation

Below the stadium, where bestial games begin,
They link the beasts – bears, bulls and slaves.
Above the crowd yawps desires
their bloodlust songs sung in basso profundo waves
inky contralto voices mixed in like a tinkling avalanche
of razor-sharp crystals to the sand below.
Their fetid air, a renegade wagon
rolls down a prodigious hill,
gawkers chained to the hapless bear, bull, and slave
a gift-wrapped fury adorned in chain-mail.

Slave cowers before the snarling beasts,
bear and bull measure each other.
Stadium trembles with their bellowed wishes.
Blood-dreams inspire them,
bear’s jaw snaps at the bull’s snout,
bull’s horns find gore places,
the slave pisses the ground.
Blood spray bouquets, thrown to the rabble,
the slave their salvation.

Adorned in a begrimed loincloth,
he bears a long hooked pole to unlatch the beasts.
Crowd roars their entreaties,
Move to the beasts!
Sacrifice for the good of men!
Tentative steps,
turns to the closed gates, hot pokers keep him in the arena.
Bull snorts and paws the blood-stained sand,
bear growls a tooth-filled face
the pole trembles in his hands,
all lost under the umbrella of a darkling sky.

Alternatives vanish in a prestidigator’s top hat.
The hook separates the pair.
Free of the other, their fury on him.
He is the crowd.
He crosses to the red-hot pokers.
Bull and bear bloody the arena with him,
split his spine,
bring great cheer to the Commodus.
The slave finds freedom.
The crowd their salvation.

© 2013

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