amaranthine


An image of a truck stop at night, illuminated in bright blue neon.

The first time you saw a god, it was outside a 24/7 truck stop.

He was in a wifebeater and snapback,

Neon painting him blue.

He winked,

(don’t tell)

You blinked

(who could you even tell?)

He vanished.

The air smelled for hours like burnt dreams and no one could tell you why

(but you knew)


Here’s the thing about gods.

They don’t let go easily.

You know the myths—

Daphne, Medusa, so many of Zeus’ so-called conquests—

You know the gods do not stop.


The first time you believe in miracles,

You’re kissing a girl in the bathroom of a restaurant.

Fancy, upscale,

Nothing on the taste of her lips.

Absolution has always rung hollow to you

(we’re all sinners, aren’t we?)

But she makes you think it’s possible to forget for long enough to be happy.


The gods do not approve.


The next time you see a god, he follows you home from work.

Down busy streets and up empty stairs and past cars and windows and lingerie ads.

You cannot lead him home to her.

You cannot let him have her.


Heaven is a nice idea, you’ve always thought.

Unattainable, but there’s a reason people chase pipe dreams.

Unattainable, but gods, you think you might understand the appeal just this once with her laugh

ringing like music on the gold-dappled afternoon

(the living make their own heaven, anyways;

the dead make do with God’s)


The gods do not give up.

You know this.

Surrender is not a word in their ancient vocabulary,

But it is not in yours, either.

(you’re starting to think it doesn’t matter if you sin;

you’re starting to think there are some things worth burning for, anyways.)


Yushan C. is an emerging Canadian author who writes on nostalgia, identity, optimism...everything, really. She is a student at the University of British Columbia, but currently lives in Edmonton, AB. Her poems have been published in TERSE Journal, Edmonton Youth Anthology Volume 1, and Serotonin.