And the show must go on

My hair is slick with mud,
my beard forming stalactites,
my face unrecognizable in its pale coating.
Flesh of earth I wear,
cracks forming as I turn my head this way
and that, and grin, something other than me grinning back.
I show my teeth, sharp and gleaming white,
good for tearing loose chunks of goat’s flesh.
I take a swig from the bottle, let its black streams
carve channels in clay, a red mouth engulfing my own
and don’t wipe it away, preferring the stain.
I watch my own eyes,
note how cold and hollow they seem,
a lizard’s eyes, or a panther’s.
A killer’s eyes.
Eyes that stare back at me, stare through me.
Eyes that challenge and seduce,
eyes that laugh in the dark
that dance in the storm clouds
and the rumbling of the earth.
I am not I.
I am the grapes that are crushed,
I am the bull whose horns are twined with ivy,
I am the lava that surges within the mountain,
I am the stars that dance in the dark heaven,
I am the mask hung from the pillar,
I am the heat and the loosening and the unfolding,
I am the great dragon that begets sons of stone,
I am the man of suffering born to atone for the crimes of lawless ancestors.
I am not I. I am him.
And the show must go on.