Meeting  in  the  Agora  After  Phaethon’s  Fall—Sestina
Lina  Branter

How will we clean up this mess? Phaethon tumbled with a bang in a scalding blaze of hubris and the sun, that misbehaved star, now moves like a curve ball hit into left field. Fact 1: the chariot has no driver.

Fact 2: that the sun needs no driver is abundantly clear. That brilliant mess in the sky is as self-sustaining as a sunflower field left to seed itself. Phaethon’s bang blessed it with enough momentum to move of its own will. Ahh! The wonders of hubris!

Fact 3: this son of a god’s hubris, this youth intoxicated would be driver, upset with his ungod unman moves this god-man game of chess. Oh what a mess! In an instant we are more than man and still less than god. Bang! We are hunted deer stranded in an open field.

Fact 4: We must look to our scorched fields and devise means of resuscitation. Yes, hubris! Since the gods gave up order not with a bang but a son’s feeble plea, we will be our own drivers and through our own invention look to this mess. God, like man, is unpredictable- we cannot know his moves.

I say leave Zeus and Phoebus to their own celestial moves. This is the time! We have the field! All the gods have given us is mess; we must find order to survive. Hubris? Scoff at the word! Fact 5: If we take the reins, be the driver of this lesser chariot, guaranteed it won’t end in a bang,

but with irrigated fields and food for our feasts. You want a bang? Watch the way the blacksmith moves; listen to his hammer on the anvil. Fact 6: we are drivers. With our own hands we sow the seeds and care for our fields. What the puffed up gods call hubris is only a practical desire to avoid further mess.

Let’s hear the hammer bang close this meeting. To our fields! So mistreated by Phoebus’ foolish moves and Phaethon’s hubris Come. The plow needs drivers- we must tidy the gods’ mess.

Lina Branter is a librarian. She lives in Montreal with her husband, two daughters, and a psychotic turtle.