Invocation for a Solitary Walk

What moment turned them to beasts?
She asked how I could take this turning,
With her feast before me —
And I told her about this corner
That can never be cleaned.
Let it go now,
She said.
There are missing pieces,
And anyway,
You have better ways
To spend your mind.
Sometimes,
There is no healing —
Only the adoption
Of more effective armor.

Still, there are crickets
In the reeds
And a sibilant wind
Rushes through.
I try not to look,
But the old ghosts
Refuse to vacate these premises.
And so much aging and ending
Rewinds the clock,
Raises these questions again.

(Let it go, she said.
You will never solve this.)

The goldenrod now,
Once so punctuating,
Has gone fuzzy,
And I cannot bring it back
To clarity again.
But the robins have gathered
To replace what has fallen —
A rusty flash in the high limbs,
Now dispersing in purposed flight.

Still, the questions cry out,
And I want to know how
It can be
Simultaneously
Such sweetness
And such torment.
I remind myself to sharpen
My stance,
Because even though
She knows how to hold me
And milks the honey
From my collection of stones,
She cannot prevent them
From entering here —
Those devouring fiends,
Demanding an offering to power.
I have opened that vein before,
More than once.
The come-and-go geese,
Crying out,
Singe the edges
Of all that scar tissue.

I buried my treasure deep
In the reeds.
Good black soil to cover it over.
And it has been decades of undoing
To open the lid
And see what waited within.
The extremes we reach —
In arming,
In guarding ourselves!
There is no safety in softness.

But here is the monarch
To remind me —
There is something about
These fearless young bucks
And butterflies —
How I built the dark walls
To invoke
the metamorphosis.
And I will not be prey
Again.

Embrace the discernment —
The slow fruition of power:
How to recognize
The seekers and tricksters
That arrive, hearts open,
To worship at this altar.
To soften,
And make mutual offerings in the dark.
Also, how to intimidate
The thieves
Who would not bend the knee.
And, how to drain the vein
Of the predators
Who would threaten
This blessed solitude.

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About Emily

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

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