PHOENIX, HALFWAY TO RISING

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We thought we hated winter until the year the blizzards would not come. Longing for the storm of you, I stared at the silent slate of the snowless sky, knowing that death by you would be like death by freezing. It would hurt at first, but then, warmth would creep along my skin, wreathing my limbs in purple frostbite blooms. I would become a garden of lilacs, and die, melting into your eyes, thinking thank yous. 

When the fire of this love started to burn, I tried to turn my mind into a tourniquet, strangle the limb that loved you. But I could not suffocate my own heart, so I let flames wash over me in waves, forging poems in the inferno of you that scorched me down to bones.

The mobs came, lobbed their stones. I fell, became a heap of cartilage and blood. 

And so now, the snake of me unlocks her jaws, lets the raw meat of a moonless night slide down her throat. And so now, I make my knees into mouths that kiss the ground of your grave, and I say to the sky, “I will die here.  No life without him.” And so now, I smear my skin with mud and wait for your ghost to find me. Palace gates swing wide, cry, “Come in, we have bread,” and I say, “I would rather be a bedless, haunted, hunted, hungry thing that sings his name in the streets.” 

I married those others with my mouth, but I married you with my marrow. I will not break my vows.

Hellhounds hold you hostage, and so what?  A chained, shorn lion is still a lion. Beaked, unfeathered things shredded my skin, untethered me from this realm. As if death could wither this love, turn these bones of steel to dust. They may rust in the rain of you, but the skeleton of this love will shimmer in the sun, long after earth is gone. 

Tonight, I saw a swan, swimming in a star pricked pool, singing. Her white wings yawned wide, swallowing the night, the streetlights reflected in the rippling slick of the water. She said she couldn’t die. She said she’d gobbled the stone of you. She said she burned to bits in the fire of your eyes and found everlasting life. 

Let her make a trampoline of the moon, a ladder of the stars. Let her weave a magic carpet from strands of your hair. Let her rise to God.

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