he built us up.
daily, flattering and buttering and sucking.
saying: your hair, your eyes, your lips, your teeth!
they sparkle, shine, gleam, and sit pretty.
we took it all in and somehow always made room for more.
overlogged sponges, but
feeling taller, standing straighter
sometimes as many as twelve compliments a day,
we got used to it.
how could you not
then winter solstice came.
in perfect synchronization with that longest, darkest day,
as the minutes clicked by, he shrunk away.
stopped watching, looking, smiling.
even ceased to speak.
which meant the compliments didn't come.
the well dried up and with it
all our pride and overhealthy self-esteems
we devolved, became
animals and clawed
at the ground then each other
with our uncut nails.
still he said
so we conferred. late at night
when he slept on the old futon
shoved in the corner of that front room.
and decided. we had to leave.
to find another prophet
who would notice and flatter and butter
to get us back on track.