Altar Ego

by Mark McLaughlin

You may think me odd (nekula kazung)
since I speak in tongues, but you see,
(nekabba phagi) Mom and Dad,
astronomy buffs, did the deed
that kickstarted me
under Ara, mystic stars
named after an altar (kabiti tikara)
exalting the Tower of Babel.
Sages and mystics and mages
used the altar to call down wisdom
(gaballi jazalla) from out of the void.
I may seem strange, but in fact,
I am special. Without parallel.
Ancient power flows through me,
the Cosmic adores me
(hektara tabunga oombelli zazzi)
for gibberish, my friend,
is a love-song composed
by the stars.

Copyright © 2003, Mark McLaughlin
Ara, the Altar

Ara, the Altar
by Johannes Hevelius

Mark McLaughlin's fiction, nonfiction and poetry have appeared in about 475 publications, including The Black Gate, Black October, Galaxy, Talebones, The Book of Final Flesh, The Last Continent: New Tales Of Zothique, two volumes of The Best Of The Rest, and two volumes of The Year's Best Horror Stories. The most recent collections of his work are The Spiderweb Tree, a poetry chapbook from Yellow Bat Press, and Hell Is Where The Heart Is, a 400+ page story collection from Medium Rare Books. He won the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Poetry 2002, along with Rain Graves and David Niall Wilson, for The Gossamer Eye, their three-author poetry paperback from Meisha Merlin Publishing. Visit his web site to learn more about his work.

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Image courtesy of Istituto di Fisica Generale Applicata, UniversitÓ degli Studi di Milano