First, no one loved me. Then
I learned to love myself
too much. The rest, as they say,
is the rest.
I ran and ran
for what seemed like months,
for what seemed like days
without nights, through stampedes
of the others just like me,
what I took to be the infernos
one is promised
and dreams of.
I prayed for God to take me
until He did. And before
I could realize that I was doing it
all wrong, I found myself
at the edge of an abandoned city.
This is it, I thought,
and the wind
swelled, so I pulled off a boot,
and then some fog dissolved,
so I unbuttoned my shirt,
and when nothing more
could be removed, when I had nothing
more to leave behind, I stood up,
wearing nothing but a scarf, and walked
into the center of the city, a piazza
of black marble and white,
bare-limbed trees growing like wire
from the marble,
emerged, in bronze curves,
oxidized, flaked in mint lichen, right there
within the muggy vicinity,
a statue of me.
And I wept beneath it
on my knees, relieved
at its being there, but mostly tired
from the punishment—and that was it.
How I came to rule the world? It was easy.