7:4: “Designation and Succession Among the Gods”, by David Kopaska-Merkel

7:4: “Designation and Succession Among the Gods”, by David Kopaska-Merkel

She Who Must Not Be Named met
He Who Must Not Be Named after school,
behind the bleachers.

He Who Must Not Be Named gave
She Who Must Not Be Named
that which must not be named
and it was good.

The next morning, He Who Must Not Be Named
challenged He Who Rules
and there was a terrible battle.

He Who Must Not Be Named was defeated,
and He was cast out. He Who Rules took
possession of She Who Must Not Be Named
and it was good.

In the fullness of time She Who Must Not Be Named
returned to school with the Son of God in tow
and great was the rejoicing.

The next morning, the Son of God challenged
He Who Rules. There was a terrible battle,
and He Who Rules was defeated.

Much was the lamentation of those who follow
and the Son of God placed He Who Ruled in the sky
where every day he shades the yard during recess
and it is good.


David Kopaska-Merkel has had poetry and fiction published in Asimov’s, Night Cry, Strange Horizons, Mythic Delirium, Star*Line, and dozens of other venues on paper and on the web. He has work forthcoming in Asimov’s, the Daily Cabal, scifaikuest, chapbooks from speculative house of poetry and naked snake press, and a myriad other places. He lives in a centuried farmhouse in what was once rural Alabama, and is surrounded by artists.

I donated to the Strange Horizons fundraising auction the right to choose the topic of my next poem. I really hoped that whoever bought it would choose a subject I could work with and Lisa Mantchev chose secret names. I was grateful! It was a short step to the concept of the nameless God. Yahweh (not his real name) is perhaps the most famous example, but there is He Who Must Not Be Named from the Cthulhu mythos and that’s what I was thinking of. I don’t really know what made me translate this idea to the schoolyard, but the rest was almost inevitable.



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