because she’d smelled the baking bricks   |   and wondered what the humans were up to this time   |   she saw the tower   |   and the men trying to be big and famous   |   instead of spreading across the earth like she’d said   |   building this tower as if they were the witches to imprison her   |   climbing it as if they could be the ones to save her too   |   she did not let down her hair   |   but dropped down herself   |   nothing you plan will be possible   |   she said   |   if you won’t listen to me   |   you won’t understand each other either   |   and their speech shattered into languages   |   the men stopped building   |   and before the people scattered across the whole earth   |   the supervisor shouted   |   why can’t you all just speak English!   |   but everyone   |   even God   |   ignored him
after Genesis 32:22-32 & WWF Superstars 1991
Is it the oil under bright lights, or
does this man glow
as he steps into the ring? I slip
through the ropes, but
my body feels as stiff as my lost Hulk
Hogan action figure.
The shining man
has reached Andre-the-Giant proportions.
We dance around for show—
booms—then the bell: Butterfly
Kneeling Belly-to-Belly Piledriver,
We’re locked together now, and
this man tells me he’s done, I can let go, but
no, I’ve seen this trick before.
“Bless me first,”
I say. He agrees, reaching out to ring the bell.
I open my hands
to accept the miracle, but now I see
dark mustache, wavy hair.
He pulls a brown
bag from under the ring and slowly
removes a python. “This
is Damien’s big brother, Lucifer,”
he says, gently
setting scales to my bare
hip, and the lights blind, the crowd
jeers, but I can’t tell which of us is the heel
and which the face
in the midst of so much hissing.
Katie Manning is the founding editor-in-chief of Whale Road Review and a professor of writing at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. She’s the author of Tasty Other, which won the 2016 Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award, and her second full-length collection, Hereverent, was recently published by Agape Editions. Her poems have appeared in American Journal of Nursing, december, The Lascaux Review, New Letters, Poet Lore, Thimble, and many other venues. You can find her on Twitter @iamkatmann and her website www.katiemanningpoet.com.