Don’t call us demons. Below the waist
we’re all snake, it’s true, and fish eyes
stare from our human faces. Remember:
we invented metallurgy,
reared Poseidon to rule the seas,
taught you humans how to capture God’s
image in the hard, veined muscle of marble.

For all our gifts, the people of Rhodes
spat. When we refused
to entertain them with our magic,
they called us queer and the bashings began.

How easy to stone their crops with hail,
poison their fields with water from the Styx.
Who needs wheat when you can eat from the sea?
But Zeus got pissed. We don’t know why

his thunderbolts hurled us into the abyss.
We’re still here—beneath the seafloor, hidden
among diatom shells and black mud, more numerous
than you know, growing in wonder,
resentment and anger. Do not be surprised, you righteous,
the day we arise, taking back by grace
or force our rightful place in your world.

Jeff Crandall