Free Her

My back was already breaking
When her winds died down.
How desperately I needed to laugh —
Or to cry out —
Or to wear any face
Other than the stone mask,
As the second allowed his anger
To wax cruelly.

We tried to fill the sails again,
But the waiting
Was interminable.

And I’m sorry
That I nourished the seed of your suffering.
But I was selfish
And longed
For your light
To pierce my cloudy days.

And now we two stand —
Shocked —
Bent-backed —
With twisted mouths —
At what we have done.
While you,
My sweet little bird
Are the first voice
Rising to the morning sun.
You learn to grow into your wings
And find those paths
That we lost.

I rubbed the dead leaves into my skin
Tied bits of gray cloud into the knots in my hair
And I cast my bones
Down upon the altar.
Would I bear this for you.
In the deepening dark
I would step under his blind eye
And ask for a mercy
Or a way to take your place
Before the stone.
Let it come to me,
I asked.

She will keep singing
The sun from her slumber —
Her trills,
Like blades in my heart.
I will watch from below as she wings
Across the marsh
To that nest
Hidden in reeds.

Look now,
The creek has broken its banks
And flooded the fields.
We cannot rest here.
But I will throw myself under
To spare you.


About Emily

I may or may not have: A. Dirt B. Ink C. Paint D. Wool under my fingernails.

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