Friday, April 4, 2014

Riddles for the Shadow on the Other Side of the Mountain & the Pillar of Fire at the Top

The heat bore down and
the city staggered and I was glad.
It was something to feel in the
bones, to push our limits, to
equalize. To touch your skin,
somewhere in this city.

I have nothing left but half-formed
questions at the end of each night. Beginning
with what—the needle or the plough? Half-
played actions—to winnow or to fray? What
is creation, if not the movements of
molecules that keep our blood from
freezing over as we sleep?


You never stop. You sing it again.
And again. The ocean follows your pull
and yet the land is never flooded; you move
back and then forward and always back
and so forth; you never stop and so
I am pulled, too. With a body of
water always between us.

You said I wasn’t dead, only
sleeping. But I was tangled in a maze
and jumping from story to story with
no body of my own. You said that
the mourners should be silent, but
the quiet that moved with the speed
of lava from your words snatched
the breath of every thought from
the middle of my gut. If I am alive,
I am speechless and unable to explain.


Truly: did you see me? Did you read the
blank pages concealed in the book around my
neck? That must be why I became a ghost
thereafter, nameless and conjured only
in tales told around the fire. If only you’d
flipped the pages in the opposite direction.
You never would’ve been content
with a simple haunting.

The shadow of your wing,
wild goose, is a refuge of weather
without rules. And so I am comforted
without knowledge by bone-crushing
thunder and left weeping under a
perfect circle of rainbow. If
I am covered, which I am,
the wind rushing at my bare skin
is nothing but a cloak.


I dare you. At the edge of
the woods. But that is all, and I am
left running in the silence of shifting
dimensions, having never been followed
there before. All must find that seam
between times by their own search.
Only comets brush my side; only 
stars say my name.

This light at the summit: I recognize
its shape, its temperature, even at this
distance. Old love, I never stop fitting
my hands and feet into these crevices I know
you carved before the beginning of the
world to bear me upward. I forget the blood
seeping from these jagged wounds whenever
I hear the air flying up to meet you.


To travel yet never go outside—may this
blind fate never reach you. You have no idea
how many enemies pursue you. And so this is how
you climb through the bars on the window, this is how you
climb the ladder to the roof.  I want to show you the side
of the cliff where you can see them coming, where you
draw the velocity of every wave into a song you’ll
hurl at each one before it sinks its teeth into your sleep.
I leave you with this: May beauty shock your eyes
open, simple as that.


What happens if this shape is moving
unseen up the other side? Will we burn to ash and
spirit when we reach the edge of the stone altar at the
top? Or see the continents rolled out before us, see
the world for the first time? In truth: I have assumed
I climb alone. In truth: I still assume. In truth: I know
nothing but the pull of every muscle moving upward, the
pull of some hidden magnet pulsing through the mountain,
the pull of light, the pull of light.