the gods

I thought of her as we lay, warm, in the darkness. Salmancis the nymph, pursuing the beautiful boy Hermaphroditus, inflamed by love, praying that she and her lover should be forever united. I knew how she felt.

Ah, the smooth skin, the deep chest, the fine bones of the man sprawled asleep in my arms. Not mine - never mine. I'm Dani the adventuress, I'm a night's amusement, a day's passing pleasure. I'm nothing permanent.

This one - ah, this one is different from the parade of the pretty boys. His name is Dion. Sleek as an otter, with green eyes like chips of emerald, strong fingers, sweet mouth. His kisses are deep. I can feel his eyelashes flutter as he opens his eyes against my breast. My hand trails down the length of his body, curling into the scribble of rough hair at his loins, snagging on that which lies between us. He gasps, his mouth opening, sucks at a nipple like a child, more than half asleep. Heat floods me, surrounds us like a nimbus; we glow in the night.

Mighty gods of my ancestors, they say you were powerful: Hera, Hermes, Zeus. I make Salmancis' prayer. I cannot lose this one, this sleeping joy, this beautiful shepherd. I will sacrifice to you, recall your worship. Stir, Great Ones, from the darkness of Pluton's realm, from the necropolis, the city and kingdom under the earth. One calls who has descent and right; one calls who will believe. Give Dion to me forever.