#1809

His wings are dust, his touch is ash.

“I am death.”


He says it simply, because it is a simple truth. He is not a god of war, armored and hungering for the ring of the blade. He is not a god of winter, bringing ice and silence to suspend all the world in cold slumber. He is not a god of the underworld, reigning over the dead from a throne of iron or chained forever in a frozen lake. He is not a god of Ragnarok, Armageddon, or the Day of Resurrection. He is not a god of plague, pestilence, change, or chance, and he will not ride out as one of the Four. He is not a god at all.

He is, simply, death.

#1808

I wonder if, even years later, long after she had woken and all the kingdom was freed from its terrible spell, Sleeping Beauty still felt the thorns creeping back. I wonder if forever after True Love’s Kiss she saw the thorns twitching at the corners of her vision and heard them scraping against the window glass at night. Maybe she slept as little as possible, so sure was she that the vines would come creeping back if she let her guard down for even a breath. Maybe she went slowly mad, and the prince eventually grew weary of his touch being mistaken for the brush of a needle-sharp thorn. Maybe when it came down to a choice between the crazy princess or the roses in the royal gardens, he chose the option that disappointed him least.

#1807

In my dreams you take the form of the wolf and stag, they who fell from that high clifftop, locked in the blood-dance of love and death. Do you simply take pleasure in wearing those skins (they must feel so familiar), or are you trying to tell me something about the nature of hunting and fishing, of devouring that which you love so it may remain caged behind your ribs? Are you trying to tell me the teacup is irreparably shattered, or that once the story swings full circle the shards will mend themselves again? There’s something here, nestled in the rocks of the riverbed; there’s something I must find, resting amid the slick blood and fine china. What are you trying to tell me? They fell – but the story isn’t over. The story’s never over, is it?

#1806

What do these dreams mean? I ask the cards. What should I do?
The Lady of the East answers in cups,
trust Them, you will not be lead astray; clear your mind and let go of your fears.
The Queen of Heaven answers in swords,
a journey of the heart is beginning; have faith and you will learn the truth.
The candle flames leap high. The shadows dance.
I love, but can I trust?

#1805

What’s in a name? That which we call Rosa
by any other name would smell as sweet.
And yet we give each of a hundred species a name
and a name to each of a thousand cultivars.
Would you deny Rosa persica its singular title
or call Rosa canina Rosa kordesii? 
Would you claim there’s no difference
between the homes of Rosa carolina and Rosa chinensis
or the thorns of Rosa acicularis and Rosa sericea?
The humble rose is no less lovely with one name or another
yet we honor the beauty of difference with the blessing of language.
If we can give each bud a family, genus, subgenus, and species
can we not respect the names with which our fellow humans define themselves?
Are we not worthy of the same deference as the smallest rose?

[ Written for the August 2016 Carnival of Aces. ]

#1804

“Enheduanna”

four millennia stretch between us
you with your reed stylus
I with my ink and keyboard
four millennia ago, the goddess whispered in your ear
four millennia later, the dark gods whisper in mine
we are not so different, you and I

we are not so different, you and I
with our poetry and our pleading
our devotion and determination
your words reverberate in my chest
your heartbeats echo through the ages
I pray mine stand the test of time

#1803

“Sinister is Saintly”

the walls are ashes
they’re looking for you
peace, peace, peace
in the starred ceiling
you’re not lost but wandering
They are with you
we are with you always
peace in your compass
solace in your vein