those who serve them are like them

these household gods watch me closely:
the beady-eyed wooden one in charge
of herbs and salt crosses her arms,
the smile on the god of apron-strings
seems forced, the fat one sits and sighs
as if in preparation for some long ordeal,
some slow march up mountain passes
behind wagons that will break and bind.
on the one hand, they are uncertain
of their potential outcomes. on the other,
they have known the holy stones at the
top of the world – from these they came,
and from the great trees beside the sea.
they came unto this house by many roads.
they make me nervous in their austere
experience, unapproachably wise and waiting
for some unknown mistake (the exact details
of which they will not mention to me).
at times, in the morning while my coffee
steams, i wonder whether they really wait
in wrath and disapproval or whether, like me,
the hand-on-hip posturing serves as a sheath
of coping, wrapped tight around those friendless
ones who have themselves been severed
from the standing mountain and from the
ancient oaks, still lithe in limb and growing.
perhaps they mourn. perhaps they grieve.
and then these moments pass and i step stiffly forth
from hearth and home to judge the world.

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