Mother Kali, Destroyer of the Multiverse, Comforts Me Who Is Callie Who Is Shiva Who Is Comforting Me by Ethan Goffman

I strike a gong

summoning Kali

queen of the underworld


She hops in my lap


She’s been living with me a long time


Since the day I was conceived

(which was always and never)


Kali was the egg

and Jehovah the sperm


Callie a purring ball of love


Kali is death

and Jehovah life


Jehovah is a myth

and Kali the eternal truth


Death is life is life is death

Kali is Jehovah is Kali


Mistress of life mistress of suffering

naked shimmering black and blue

too gorgeous too horrific to glance at


We pass on our sperm

pass on our eggs

to be immortal

donate an infinitesimal part of our bodies

to the multiverse




Our spawn will die

our species too

but we will live forever

and never


This seething breathing loving suffering corpse

we call self

will rot


We are empty husks of corn

scattered to the winds

since before our conception

our lives laid out

our deaths long past


We die first and are born


Kali knows intimately

that death and life

destruction and creation

are an illusion

a bitter reality


Knows time forward and backward

sideways and upside-down

she exists yet doesn’t exist outside time inside space

twisted pretzel

maze with no beginning


invoking Jehovah

I summon Kali

already here

always never existing


She is no Indian goddess

she is he is they is I

transgender and cisgender gay and straight and binary bent and crooked liar and truth

they is mother goddess of life




His wife Shiva

his husband Kali

its spouse Kaliva

their horde of significant others Shali



a drop the universe


Destroyer of worlds

guardian of the multiverse

comes to me

at the echo of a gong


Saliva echoes with universes

the instant Kali spits it

spits herself

from his mouth

scattering them to the five winds


The instant of creation

the eternity of Ragnarok

preordained by the demon Jehovah

created within my destructive self

created by the universe despite my pitiful pleas

a mewling dying kitten freshly born

Shrödinger’s Rubik’s five dimensional cube

Callie simultaneously alive and dead everywhere and nowhere


I strike a gong larger than the universe

the size of a hangnail

dangling from my left pinkie toe


Callie is there

a familiar from eons past

from an unimaginable future

a gift from my mother

Shiva comes from the next life

to torment me with kindness




We cannot escape



rubbing against I

purring and soothing

tiny circle of life in my lap


She springs up

startled by a distant gong

disappears into the multiverse

leaving bloody skidmarks

in our soft flesh


I strike a gong


a gong strikes me



Ethan Goffman’s poems have appeared in BlazeVox, Bradlaugh’s Finger, Burgeon, The Loch Raven Review, Mad Swirl, Madness Muse, Ramingo’s Blog, Setu, Under the Bleachers, and Winedrunk Sidewalk. His first volume of poetry, Words for Things Left Unsaid, is just out from Kelsay Books.  Ethan is co-founder of It Takes a Community, a Montgomery College initiative that brings poetry to students and local residents.  In addition, Ethan is founder and producer of the Poetry & Planet podcast on

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