Are gods really gods if no one believes in them anymore?
Zeus takes walks in the rain and tries to talk up joggers in central park. When they bolt, or only return his advances with polite smiles that look like fence posts too high for even him to jump, he sighs. He tells them he is a god, and his words echo back to him, accompanied by laughter. No one believes him He picks up his wife, who might be his sister in this time, in a beat up car with a beautiful flame job, Hera is a marriage counselor with peacock feather bags under her eyes, her advice falls on her own deaf ears as her jealous eyes roam over every girl they pass, and she is right to. She knows this. She has always known.
Poseidon’s hands are rough and calloused, he raises cargo too heavy for a man his age, the young ones say. He laughs his fisherman’s laugh, all depths and riptide, because no one should be his age. He reminds himself he is one of the lucky ones, he gets to be around what he loves. He may not have his dominion any more, but salt water and sun still weather his face.
Hades stalks the streets at night, women cross the street to avoid him, and he smiles with his needle-teeth, they are right to. This winter he is without a bride, and he still wants to usher souls into the afterlife, the pistol hangs heavy in his pocket, his tongue glints gold, the coin to pay his Charon, his most loyal employee. He brings knives to gunfights and guns to fistfights, he stands with his arms out like their new God, these fickle humans, he welcomes the bullets. He dares them to kill him. They try.
Ares and Athena spit curses laced with whiskey from across dive bar floors, they are moving human pawns across a chessboard. They were strategists before they were gangsters, but it doesn’t matter now.
Apollo sings in a nightclub, his crooning voice from a forgotten time. He has his sister’s blood under his fingernails, from stitching up wound after wound, Artemis forgets she is not invincible anymore. He sings about the moon and wonders where she is, picking a fight with some would-be rapist, maybe it’s Zeus. It’s probably Zeus. Again.
Dionysus drinks away their shared pain, dealing LSD in dark alleyways, he whispers sweet promises and his followers believe him, he was human once and he can be again, like wine, he knew nothing so sweet could have lasted forever. Icarus sidles up to his side, asking if he’s got anything that can make you feel like you can fly. In this life, he is a junkie, and Daedalus watches with ancient, sad eyes. Icarus is melting and Dionysus is letting him.
Hestia sits by the hearth and waits for her family to come home. And she listens while they all curse their immortality. She shakes her head slow and clicks her tongue, I know, my darlings, I know.
Are gods really gods if no one believes in them anymore? Does it matter?
"Are the gods really gods?"
Marissa dakin, 2015