Who dares open the doors of its mouth,
ringed about with fearsome teeth?
– Job 41:14
I know my words are not tender.
I know that for thousands of years past
my immortal reputation precedes me.
I was taught by the best:
devil, dragon, titan, whale. I spit poison, burning
the sharp black hairs grown of tentacle arms.
Strength resides in my neck, dismay goes before me.
In darkness, my millions of mutant heads are rigged
beneath the ocean bed, waiting
to slither out and steal fire from the sun.
Nothing on earth is equal –
I am a creature without fear.
Today, my mouth is gaped open
by her biggest blue morning glory eyes.
I do not know how it is that where most
see sharp fangs, bleeding gums
she sees God. I do not know
if that is what He is:
her gentle hands washing the bloody wounds of my war,
her merciful descant of forgiveness as a medicine for venom
her steady meditation on my prayer bead teeth,
her careful precision as she translates the dead language
inscribed on the inside of my cheeks
but if that
is what he is,
let there be light.