From the beginning it was the knots
that bothered him. He wondered why
they were so complicated
that he couldn’t pull them loose, and why
they were there in the first place
since it was he himself who had chosen
the rock on which to do his penance,
had even picked the birds, the ones
with talons and sharp beaks
to pluck at his liver.
That was a good choice, really, given
its ability to regenerate.
Soon there was a whole flock.
What with the good eating they multiplied.
Seems, though, that the story could not go on forever.
They all watched and waited.
In the end he had to beg
the boss for forgiveness
even though he really felt nothing.
He’d just done his job.
And even that was fated.
In any case the knots, he now realized, were appropriate.
What he had done may not have been a crime.
But was definitely stupid.