When the Bacchantes left him, limbs were spread
over the forest floor, his guts in trees
like garlands in the branches, and the breeze
waved sheets of skin, so white, dripping so red.
The muses came, his mother and his aunts,
with a great barrel carved from mountani pine
and gathered up each piece, steeped it in wine
to slow decay. The forest rang with chants
the Muses mourning – birds and beasts all died
from too much beauty. In the silent glades
just the slow steps of dance, the flash of blades
with which they cut themselves. And where they cried
where tears or blood fell, death. They found his head
singing where it washed up – screamed til throats bled.