Ephesia Grammata

          i. Nomina Magicæ

                    Plutarch reports that the Magi
those sages of Biblical fame
instructed tormented victims
of demonic possession to
recite with fervid reverence

                    the Ephesia Grammata
sorcerer-kings, in their wealth of
infinite wisdom, knowing full
well just how inappropriate
human language is to address

                    gods, angels, or demons, bearded
and erudite conjurors, those
metaphysicians referring
their patrons and patients alike
instead to those meaningless words

                    when, if spoken correctly, both
empower, and protect against
its destruction, the soul of their
syllables’ afflicted speaker
magic residing in their sounds

                    secret names ineffective if
mispronounced, the real “grammar” to
which the classic grimoires refer
in their origins’ corrupted
etymology, ignored cures.

          ii. Voces Mysticæ

                    On curse tablets unearthed last month
in what patchwork of desert-scorched
earth was once Græco-Ægyptian
territory, boundaries blurred
between existence in this world

                    and that which waits for men after
death, borders wandering sand since
an eternity ago when
in apotropaic fury
underworld-weary and worried

                    priests buried each, hoping no one
but those pilgrims unacquainted
with, and naïve enough to tempt
resurrecting, pagan beliefs
would elicit their ancient scourge

                    and, if by some tongue’s urgency
mystical whispers would emerge
to tickle their virgin ears, this
impurity of voices would
stir again and pierce to their hearts

                    those clay vessels incapable
of retaining divine breath, yet
better suited for infernal
beings to be walled within, those
damned fools, such as you, reading this.