old gods - Phoebe Tsao

poseidon is worried.

the waters rise higher on the shores every year, and

soon it will be every month.

the hurricanes are coming more often; monsoon season is two weeks early and

three weeks longer.

he feels like he should be doing something, but he’s not sure

what he can do, so he sits in his fishing boat and casts some more line into the water.



hermes is content.

he is the CEO of his company and he barely goes to work anymore, except to sign papers.

not when he can tell his secretary to do it

or his butler

or his maid.

he feels like bruce wayne

rich, attractive, a superhero who can do anything.



persephone is frustrated.

she loves the colours of spring, the sweet scent and taste of fresh fruit

(especially the taste of pomegranates)

but whenever she tries to grow her own garden

the plants she touches

wither away

and she dreams of a dark throne in a dark hall filled with the moans of the dead.



ares is jubilant.

he thinks he is the only happy man in the entire army

even as he wakes up every day to the sounds of war, lying on hard soil and rock,

even though he stays up later than everyone else

smelling the smoke of cigarettes and burnt souls.

and every time they send more of them to afghanistan

he laughs until he cries.



artemis is furious.

just because she’s almost thirty

and a virgin, and intends to stay that way

doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with her

and she’s sick of other people’s shit.

when a man who looks like he’s forty whoops and hollers for her to take it off

she punches him in the face and tells him she eats boys like him for lunch.



dionysus is busy.

he critiques wines and acts and writes a pop culture column for the Times

he goes to broadway shows – once he was in a broadway show –

and he goes to all the best clubs downtown.

he brushes his teeth with the grape-flavoured toothpaste children use because

why not? he’s an adult and he can do what he wants.

he hardly spends any time at home. he loves it.



athena is tired.

she grades papers and teaches seminars

drones for hours on end about european history

but she’s bored of talking about what’s already happened.

her skin is wrinkling and her grey eyes are growing dimmer

with age

and she says she’s far too old to talk about the problems of the past.