cup of canopus 13

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Dreaming in Black and White

He got into her every pore, he filled her up, he penetrated her. He sought to become her conqueror, her possessor. Should she struggle, he tightened the noose, the jaws of the trap shut tighter, the barbed wire around her skin tore her flesh. She was no longer free.

How had she chosen this? Was it his fault she had chosen him as her captor? She loved him, yet he had come close several times to poisoning her or keeping her from life-saving medicine. He didn’t intend it so it seems or so he claims. Skywriting, her love her passion, was drying up while she brought him beverages to slake his thirst. It would kill her to comfort him yet she would do it perfectly, passionately, just to have him say he loved her, to see him smile at her, to watch his eyes, pleased.

Where came this need of hers that ruled her, that overrode every other desire? It was created by the hole left when she was marked for dying and there was no one. She had not known how to sustain others’ interest in her while she was ill. Even her own deserted her and said they were not responsible.

Had she kept her plane for skywriting and the corvus oil she coud have penned an alarm but as it was, she sold these things to purchase her beauty and secure his love for a few more months of her life.

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good bye my love

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#41 Black & White

Now that I have said good bye, I dream of you more and more. And is it the you you really are or the idealized you of our childhood and early romance? I think the latter, for in the saying of our good byes and in the living with our good byes, don’t our dreams come back to soothe us, tattered coats to stay the chill? In my new house already old with all I’ve brought with me from past lives, all I’ve received from you to add to what’s gone, the walls, the ceilings, the fixtures shed their grief like soft downy snow, the dust of our flesh, what has been but what is no longer, this dust it falls in outlines on the floor, marking faint impressions of our bodies.

Your eyes are what I remember, their soft brown, the memory of what they were to me in my girlhood and how they looked at me when I was a woman and what I saw there and wanted to see, and the face as well that has seen struggle and loss and hardship, and the hands, known to me since you were young, the fingers, beautiful and long, now worn from work in sun and rain and cold.

I love you and will always no matter what the reason for this impassable divide. I never thought, as a girl, as a young woman anything could divide romantic love, sever it neatly. That was when oceanic feelings still engulfed me and I and my lover were inseparable and he thought what I thought and he loved as I loved, in equal measure, with identical expression, with obedience to the same rules.

I became a child again with you. I indulged the little child once more and that innocence and belief revealed themselves this final time before I turned to walk the road alone in my flat shoes on the path that is soil, that which I will one day become.

The moment I said goodbye, I lay down, exhausted, and slept. I dreamed you were opening a front door for me. I dreamed we were going into someone’s home, maybe our own home, to eat ice cream and pie. We laughed because we were going to eat butter pecan ice cream with our pecan pie. So many pecans we said. The door was heavy, wooden, carved, the foyer a dark, carved wood. I write this and know it would have been the very thing you would have loved, that foyer, that wood, that carving. I write this because isn’t it the sweetest torture there is to be released from someone while at the same time loving them most deeply in their best self, mourning what was, before there was dust. I write this remembering how many times, in our flesh, we spoke of ice cream.

My Mother is a Wolf

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my mother is a wolf

My mother is a wolf. She is with me at the campsite. There is a sign that specifically says do not keep food accessible to wild animals. She sits at the table and has tea with me. She is sitting on her haunches.

My mother is crying. She says there are things she never taught me: how to sew from a pattern, how to manage my accounts, how to plan for a week’s worth of shopping. Her paw is on my hand. It is warm from scrambling over the sun-kissed rock, from a blood that has become different from the way my blood runs, which is almost reptilian by comparison.

I have no feeling any more, mother, I say, no regrets. I am serving the cinnamon tea. I am serving it in delicate white china.

In the sun, my mother is beautiful. In the sun, the blue of her eyes like the sky penetrate my defenses.

I did not raise you to take the hardships of your life this way, she says. I never told you it would always be the same. There are things you must do now to become who you must become.

The smoke of the fire curls up into the air. I wonder if my mother will return that evening with the other wolves, to threaten me for my meager fare — a bird shot in midflight, a rabbit caught in a snare. I wonder if she will return for me.

She had come to see me during the day at other times, and not for tea, and not for any reason. I have felt the presence of the others hovering about the trees. So far, it has not resulted in anything, only a mild abrasion on the cheek when we kissed, an unintentional scraping, drawing a faint line of blood.

I am disappointing her, I feel, and yet I cannot move on. My old life is behind me, in ruins. I mourn it as for an ancient city, burning. My beginning has no map. My mother is not the woman in the yellow dress cooking dinner for my father and my brother and sister. All histories have melted away and these old regrets live on top of the mountain. And yet, except for a few tears, my mother runs in packs at night. I know she protects me, for in the morning, there is a drop of blood in the corner of her mouth or in the web of her paws that she does not explain but wipes away on a napkin.

And yet I continue to straighten the napkins and check the egg timer for steeping.

Published in Apocrypha and Abstractions, February 20, 2014

Midway upon the journey of our life

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Inferno, Canto 1 Dante in the savage wood

Inferno, Canto 1: Dante in the savage wood

 

Midway upon the journey of our life

I found myself within a forest dark,

For the straight-forward pathway had been lost.

Ah me! how hard a thing it is to say

What was this forest savage, rough, and stern,

Which in the very thought renews the fear.