Making a Man
by David Bowles

Just as Quetzalcoatl, for a fifth time,
Stubbornly resolved to make mankind,
Descending into the netherworld
To face the Lord and Lady of Death
And steal from them the bones
Of all his failed attempts,
Then returned with that broken ivory
To Tamoanchan, flowery realm of the gods,
So the Mother of All could grind them to flour
And mix them with drops of holy blood
Shed by her divine children,
Kneading humanity into existence—

So do I swear to struggle once more,
To scour this hell for the shattered skeleton
Of our troth, regardless of the cost to me.
When I return to you—sometimes goddess,
Sometimes demon, always loved—
Promise me you’ll pulverize the past,
And I’ll let my veins run dry
So that you can mix a mortar
With which to shape a better man.

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