apotropaic

Creeping in a tropical crepuscule, you approach a portal. What epic will it open to? A paradise of rhapsodic terpsichore, or a pit to trap you in perpetuity? As you tiptoe to it you seek an apotropaic. What will protect you, what will send evil away so that you live, transposing as apo transposes to opa that you may say “I see” safely (apo tr opa i c) and escape captors?

A typical approach is to expect that spiritual raptors will be reflected and ejected by some particularly wretched complection: with ugly gargoyle or sheela na gig you can provoke apoplexy in spooks from poltergeist to perkele. Perhaps a hippopotamus? No – that would only endanger your life and limb (they’re not just porky and pug-ugly pachyderms; they’re exceptionally truculent), and you happen not to have a hippo in your pocket. You pick apart your anorak hoping to prestidigitate some unexpected amulet. In the peripheral aspidistras you glimpse a pair of eyes, a couple of fangs, perhaps an ear, all shaped like the word apotropaic. You step back and keep patting your pockets frantically.

But what provokes “Eureka!”? What little bit of plastic epitomizes the dactyl and trochee, or trochee and amphibrach, “ap-o-tro-pay-ic,” you happily exclaim? What has seen that you lived without devil, what will you set atop the portal for protection as you pick its lock? As ugly as any projectile that has traced an erratic hyperbole: a Poopatrooper. An apotropaic Poopatrooper.

You toss it up. It approaches apogee and pops its parachute, and drops loopily to the capstone of the portal, where it perches. You approach, trepid but expectant…

One response to “apotropaic

  1. Pingback: turquoise | Sesquiotica

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