Halcyon Days

by Wade Christian

NORTON never mentions
Beowulf and Grendel were briefly
roommates in college.

Beowulf, the foreign kid
with a wrestling scholarship,
decided to pledge
his Saxon body
to three Greek letters.
He fit in well, with
his love of mead
and disdain for waking
in a familiar location.

Grendel studied poetry,
devoured the fine arts.
''Poetry?'' Beowulf asked
one afternoon
as he rolled out of bed.
''One thing I've learned
in seven years at this school
is poetry's for losers.
You might as well
move in with your mom.''

Grendel continued to ink
his verse, rune by rune,
on a taut tanned hide.
Beowulf stood with a stein,
leering over the brutish poet.
''Loosen up, have a drink,''
he slurred, sloshing the stein
toward Grendel.

Mead met hide.
Grendel stared at his ruined runes,
a guttural growl in his throat,
then crashed through the wall,
a dragon emerging from a cave.
He rampaged across the country,
roaring and razing,
while Beowulf still stood in the room
peering into the desert of his tankard,
''Dude, that sucks.''

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