Night and Clovers

clover

The glen is full of clovers and bees.  Little flowers spread over the ground in a carpet of white-on-green speckles.  The morning dew coats everything and the air is sweet and crisp and bright.  The sun is a warm touch on my skin, I think it cradles us as it shines.

Our homes are made of stone and covered in moss, with colored glass in our windows and sweet clover hugging our walls.  Vines trail up and down the sides, lazy and confused.

In the daylight, my home is full of life.

At night, the glen changes to something else entirely.  Cold stone is lit by the flickering orange glow of our fires, voices fade into whispers, and the air fills with the scent of smoldering clovers.  The night is vicious and dark.

We are people of the day, and we let the night be.

Even I let it be.  Even after I held its hand.  I belong in the warmth of the sun.

Around my neck hangs a clear glass pendant, immortalizing my first four leaf clover.  Everyone gets their first one set in glass, and with it comes something special.  My mother’s came with the blessing of sharp wit, my fathers came with a knack for finding lost things.  My best friend’s came with an impeccable sense of balance.

Mine came with a bridge to the night.  The night and I are not friends, but now there is understanding between us, and my nightmares have stopped.

My brother found his clover today.

When a child finds their clover, it is a celebration.  Today, however, instead of the laughter and shouting, there’s a stillness sweeping over the glen.  They are all staring, and no one is staring more than my brother.  The world at that moment feels strangely off-kilter, and because of this I stand close beside him.

His clover has five leaves.

There’s no knowing what the clover brings him until it is set in glass.  I am unsettled as I take his hand and lead him to the glazier, but then he looks up at me and the wide-eyed surprise is giving way to excitement.  I smile at him and watch as he hands over his clover to be set.  We wait together, and I’m not letting him see my nerves.  I don’t want him to be afraid, he’s dreamed of this moment his whole young life.

The pendent comes out, finished, five leaves spread perfectly in clear glass.

My brother picks out a leather string to hold it and hangs it around his neck.  I’m watching carefully, waiting for him to find out what it brings.  He’s looking down at it, and for a moment he goes entirely still.

A soft breeze whispers past my ear, and I smell a hint of smoke.  I try not to hold my breath.  I’m not sure I’ve ever seen my brother so still and quiet, as he stands there with his fingers lightly touching the glass.

When he looks up his eyes are black as the night, with a warm glow flickering inside.  His voice is soft and distant as he speaks.

“This one carries a curse.”

His hand drops to his side, and just like that, he walks out.  My heart is beating triple-time, filling my head with noise as I follow after my brother.  I wait for him to tell me more, but slowly I realize what he said is all I get.

The bees stay away from him.  The other children follow suit.  I can’t blame them, he isn’t the boy he used to be.  Clover wilts in his shadow.

It’s weeks later, and I walk outside in the dead of night.  Never far, still inside the warm glow of our family fire.  My brother is there and we sit with our backs against the cold stones, staring into the flames, and I offer him my hand.

His fingers are frost, but mine are brown from the summer sun, and they hold enough heat to share.

“There are no shadows here.”  He says.

He means “Not nearly as much as a forest can hold.”

I nod and whisper, “The oak by our creek holds a few.”

I mean “You don’t have to go.”

His fingers tighten around mine, and for a moment, there’s something of my little brother there.  The one who drags me early out of bed to make the first footprints in the morning dew.  The one who raises an eyebrow when he tries something new.  The one who talks my ear off about something he’s made up on the spot.

“I do not belong here.  Not anymore.” He says.

He means “The sun is killing me, the way night used to torture you.”

I sigh and nod again. “I know.”

I mean “You should find yourself a place you love.”

I love the warm summer breeze and carpets of green, I love the speckles of white flowers and the taste of honey, I love the light of a cloudless day and the glint of color in the windows.  I turn my head to catch the flicker of fire in his eyes.  He’s almost curled against my side.

I have grown to love the warm glow of flames in pools of black.  I have grown to love the cool surface of stone beneath my hot fingers.

“I’ve never been to a place darker than here.” He says.

And he means “I’m scared of being alone.”

I touch my pendent.  I was so little when I’d found the clover inside. “The dark is not so bad once you’re acquainted.”

And I mean “You would not have to be alone.”

The fire pops, sending sparks into the sky.  We don’t speak again, but when the flames have died and the embers are buried in their bed of ashes, I sneak into my room and grab a few of my things.

My book of pressed flowers, my dresses in various shades of yellow, and my glass figurines.

My brother grabs nothing, he waits for me outside.  When I reappear, his lips almost smile, and we fade into the night.

Far away, there is a place deep in an old, old forest where strange things dwell.  The canopy of leaves overhead glows with the light that fails to pierce through, throwing the ground below into a green-tinted world.  Mushrooms and ferns fight for the forest floor.  A stream runs through the trees and disappears into a cave’s mouth, winding its way through the maze inside.

Parents warn their children to stay away from places like this. “That’s where other things live, and they’re best left alone.”

I don’t blame them, this forest is a nesting place for the night, and I used to let the night be.  Even after holding its hand.

My brother still doesn’t tell me about his curse, but he loves this place.  I haven’t told him yet, but I think he already knows.  It’s growing on me as well.  It speaks a language I have only started to learn, but I am falling for its deep, inky tones.

I used to let the night be.

Now I speak to my brother in ways only night would understand.


Wake Up

“Have you ever woken yourself from your own dream?”

The grass is thick and green with a hint of yellow.  It is warm and comfortable, sitting under the sun as he asks questions for the sake of conversation.  I pull my eyes from the grass between my spread fingers to look at him.  His face is tilted and open with a hint of a smile.  

There is something deep and settled and lasting about this moment.

“On purpose?” I think I’ll remember today forever.  Something to pull out of a photo album to make myself feel a fraction of this again.  The breeze is cool, and with it I realize how warm my skin has grown from the sun. “No.  I don’t recall ever wanting to.”

A hawk is gliding in the air, almost floating in place, sharp eyes watching the field below.  If I could fly like that . . . how it would feel to be suspended between earth and sky, the pull of gravity and the pull of the wind holding me in place.

“Not even from nightmares?”

The ground solid beneath me is just as well, I suppose, but oh to feel nothing around me and yet to be held. “I can’t remember nightmares when I’m under the sunlight.”

He tears away a tall blade of grass and picks at its edges.  His eyes glow like a cool morning autumn mist. “I know you can’t,” he says, “but clouds are coming.”

“Not today,” I say, looking back up at the deep blue sky.  Not today, and that’s what matters for now.  A second hawk glides into view, farther away but with brilliant red feathers.  If I were to paint something, I would paint this.

“You’ve done it before.”

I frown in confusion, looking back at him.  He’s watching me, like he’s about to say something but he wants to make sure I’m following.  I’m not. “Done what?”

“Wake yourself up.”

I shrug, looking down as I thread my fingers through the grass again. “I don’t want to leave.”

“You never do.  That’s why I’m here.”

I know.  I remember.  He’s always here, to make sure I don’t stay too long.  Too long, and my dreams go sour.  Too long, and I get lost in them.  All good things come to an end.  That’s how there’s beginnings.

I look back up, and sure enough, there’s a wispy cloud on the horizon.  I remember now, what waits for me when I wake up.  A messy room, messy homework, messy life.  I have to make a phone call that I’d been putting off.  I have to . . .

“I have time.” I dig my hands deeper into the grass, pushing into the dirt beneath. “I don’t want to forget this.”

He glances over his shoulder at the hawks.  I watch them too.  There’s three of them now.  The first one swoops down at something in the grass.  It pulls back up holding a snake.

I close my eyes, feeling the sunlight against my face.  It’s peaceful here.  It’s warm.  When I open my eyes, a tear slips out.

He stands up, worry on his face as he holds out a hand to me. “If you really want to stay, we need to get out of here.”

The wind picks up, with a sliver of a sharp, cold edge to it.  This is the turning point.  This is where I can get lost.  This is where the dream shifts to a nightmare.  I take his hand and we run.

I have to retake a test in the morning.  I’m not surprised, because not a word of it made sense.  It’s not going to make any more sense the second time around.  We run past the sound of a rattlesnake’s warning.  A hawk dives close to my face, talons suddenly far too large and sharp to be so near me.

I need to do my laundry.

We run into the woods, branches snapping as we pass by.  Roots emerge from the ground to snatch at my ankles.  It’s getting darker here.  I can’t remember how to get to the safehouse.  Hyena laughter rises up around us.

“Come on.” he pulls me sharply to the left.  We have to hurry.  We can’t be out here much longer.  I don’t know where I am.

Everything is far too real.

A root trips me, and I cling to the hand I hold as I go down.  If he hadn’t held on, I would’ve fallen forever; this I know for certain.  I don’t want to know how.  As it is, he pulls me back up, and we’re running through the door to the safehouse before I recognize it.  I bolt the door, just as something slams against it.  A dim light flickers on.

“You need to get out.” he’s looking at me with urgency, and I know he isn’t talking about going outside.  I need to go, I need to go, I need . . . 

“I don’t remember how.” I whisper.  And I don’t.  My feet are heavy on the floor, my heart is fighting with my chest.  I’m too awake to be asleep.

I didn’t realize I was leaning against the door until a second thud hits it, clattering all the way to my teeth.  He joins me, and we hold the door closed.  I’ve been here before.  I don’t remember leaving.

“That’s why I’m here to guide you.  You just have to let me.”

It takes me a moment to see that he’s holding out a hand to me again.  My guide, no matter what I choose.  He knows every dream inside and out.  He knows that fire will break out next.  We both do.

I take his hand.

The smell of pine wood wafts by. I take a deep breath and I hold it.  Somehow, I still don’t want to go.  I don’t want to wake up to everything.  The clammer demanding my attention.  The scattered thoughts.  The time that slips away and then holds so very still.

There’s a hint of smoke mixed in with the pine.  Orange flickers in the edges of my vision.  I have to go.  Maybe after everything, I’ll paint the tail feathers from that red hawk. I let go of the breath I’m holding.

I would like that.

“Okay.” I say, and I close my eyes. “I’m ready to go.” 

There’s a distant pop of wood burning, but it only makes me think of cozy winter nights and marshmallows.  The walls around us sigh and shift, and I listen as he whispers to me, soft as down feathers.

“Wake up.”

Confessions

“Meet me at the cliffs,” I told him, as if he’d really come and I’d really be waiting. “Bring all your secrets.  Everything you’ve ever lied about.  We’ll throw it all in the waves.”

His eyes had glinted in the fading light, a smile on his face that was far too easy to believe. “Dead of night,” he’d said, as if I’d really get out of bed and he’d really be awake. “I’ll be there with everything.”

And that was how we parted ways.  Him with the stuffed bags and me with my freedom.  It was always meant to end like this.

I don’t know why I’m out of my bed.  We both knew those plans were really a soft goodbye.  I think maybe it was the coward in me, not willing to say goodbye.  Maybe I got too used to the danger with him.  I’m not ready to face my thoughts alone.

The cliffs are a fearsome thing at night.  Moody and looming and much taller than they are at day.  It’s windy here, and though it isn’t cold, I’m glad I dressed warmly.  I don’t know why my heart is sinking, I knew I’d be alone.  I brought my secrets and my lies.  The waves below are far more gentle than they have a right to be.  I want them to crash my words to pieces and carry them away.

“I’m finally free,” I whisper, just to try it out. “And I don’t know what to do with it.”

A soft rush of water below wraps around my words and cradles them.  I sit on the edge and watch the small waves, as if I could see my words swimming in them, looking for a way to settle.  

The moon is nearly full, and everything is too bright for it to be the dead of night.  Everything is slightly off, slightly wrong, but not in a terrible way.  I don’t know why I feel so sad.  I didn’t lose anything, though much of it was at risk.  

“I lied.” I say, dropping the words like a stone. “I think it counts as a lie.  It feels like one.  I lied when I made plans instead of saying goodbye.”

I squint at the waves, as if I could see a ripple from my confession hitting the surface.  They pay no mind, rolling in and out like a mother rocking a sleeping child.

I think back to my secrets.  Or perhaps they weren’t secrets.  Perhaps I only call them such because there is no one to tell.

“I wish I’d said goodbye.”

Once upon a time . . .

What if I told you there was a mermaid princess with long magic hair, the color of spun gold, a princess who fell in love and stayed there.  Perhaps her eyes were the color of the water she swam in, or perhaps they were the color of the sunlight that hit the surface.  Perhaps she had sisters; many, many sisters.  It all ends up the same.  

What if she had a child, a daughter, sweet as summer and hair as black as night . . . just like her father, the princess’s husband.  Her husband, who could have been anyone, it wouldn’t matter.  He was kind, he was good, and he was loved dearly.

What if I told you it was her husband the prince that was cursed, taken somewhere far away and held in enchanted sleep; and what if the princess cut off her magical hair in exchange for legs so she could go find him, walking barefoot for miles, even though every step felt like a path of broken glass.

What if this was a story about a man fighting through his nightmares to wake up and find his way home.  

What if this was a story about a little mermaid girl with hair as black as the ocean depths, and the thief who stole her away from her mother’s side.  

What if this was a story about a mischievous boy who never grew up, and how he snuck a mermaid princess into a ball so she can hold the kingdom’s dark prince at knife point, demanding to know where her husband had gone. 

And what if I told you this was a story about a wife and a mother, who cut her hair and walked on blades; who chased will o’ wisps and held a dark prince by the throat; who fought until her hands became the knives she walked on, and who outsmarted the sphinx who stood between her and her husband.

This could be a story about any one of them alone, but it’s so much better when it’s about them all.

They say it was true love’s kiss, and no curse stood a chance against them.  They say he was waiting at the threshold of the binding curse, nightmares in a trail of puddles behind him.  They say it like it was easy, like anyone would do it for love.  Like theirs was the story of many.

I half believe it.

They say the prince’s cry for his daughter still echoes through the crypt walls.  That even the sphinx, realizing he was tricked, didn’t dare leave his cave for decades in their wake.  

They say it went like this: like awakened dragon blood and sharp teeth and siren calls, like forged steel, stone daggers, and shadows that quaked at the scene.  It was like this: two parents who wouldn’t stop until they held their child once again; and a thief who was once granted three wishes and used them all to keep his life as he gave up the child he stole.

They say it ended like this: happily ever after.  Reunions and laughter and the journey home.  They don’t specify anything more, and perhaps they don’t need to.

For once, I believe them.

Happily ever after.  The end.

Returning Hero

The air is rich and sweet here, and oh, how I’ve missed it.  This land, this glen, it has a way of tethering to the heart and holding strong no matter the distance such a heart wanders, forever pulling until it returns.  Thick moss carpets the ground, turning even the most jagged stone into something smooth and soft.  Slender white trees poke through the ground, growing tall and bending towards each other.  They tangle their branches into intertwined fingers, holding each other like lovers.

My hands are empty, but a phantom touch still haunts them.

A narrow stream tumbles through my path, splitting in the presence of a small mossy boulder and winding onwards; searching, curious, and ever moving no matter how it must split to do so.  My feet are heavy, sinking into the spongy ground.  How light they used to be.

Throaty cries fill the air, black feathers and gleaming eyes and the settling rustle of crows landing around me.  They remember me, recognize me, even after everything.  The light touch of talons grip my shoulder as one lands beside my ear.  I don’t have to look to know it’s Shella, already preening my hair and tucking it away from my face.

After all this time.

I never stopped thinking about them.  This place.

Home.

My hands open and close, like a gasping fish caught on land.  I’m not sure what to do with them anymore.

 I’m thinking about what I have seen; but then again, when am I not.  Stone and fire, steel and destruction, ice and marble.  Heavy mists, ripped sails, blinding light. Sea monsters.  Mad men.  Countless hands outstretched.

I’d taken those hands.  One by one.  The calluses they gave me still remain.  Some even stayed, followed me, stood at my side.  I think pieces of me stayed in their palms.

I think of all the villains I’ve fought, and the one who died in my arms. Of how my blood screamed in rage, and yet I set it aside and told the dying man of soft moss and sweet air, for his doom had already been set and I’d had full enough of the poison that choked me and consumed him.

I sit on a covered log, half swallowed by the ground.  I touch the moss that creeps over rotting wood.  There was once a time I’d enjoyed the feel of it beneath my fingertips.  I still feel the sensation, but my mind only thinks of the howling wind in a red-stone canyon far, far away.

I have come home ruined, hoping to find an echo of myself I seem to have left behind.  Black feathered heads tilt to the side, watching me through watery black eyes.  I hear their occasional caws, but they are mixed with shouts and windstorms and a voice screaming my name. 

Some wounds don’t have a magic cure.  Most, in fact.  I’ve really only seen a magic cure twice in my life, the cost of which was steep.  There are no shortcuts, not even in fantastical things.

Some griefs you must sit with until they ease from the stomach, the gut, the chest. But they cannot always be this way.  Like lead on my heart.  Like the sky on my shoulders.

Patience. Say the crows. The time will come

Shella nips my ear to be sure I hear her. Every time has its place.  

I cannot settle, but I start to.  My fingers jump from moss to clothes to crumbling wood.  My heart tries to remember how to not skip over beats.  My eyes are burning from the strain of the horizon, but they do not protest long when I close them.

I am home. 

The air is sweet, and thick moss carpets the ground; it has a way of crawling over everything given enough time, taking even the most jagged of souls and softening their edges.

Fairies

“Roger, come on! Mum says you have to go with me.”

I sometimes wonder how this started. The insistent tugging on my arm whenever the moon rises full and bright. I look down at my sister, already dressed for bed with a sweater pulled over top. Her voice is urgent, afraid she’ll miss it because I move so slow. 

“I can’t take you anywhere without shoes, silly.”

She dashes off, yelling for me to come on. I stand from the dinner table, sighing as I look at the clock. Homework is done, but I can’t go read my book until this is over and Cadence is in bed. Or perhaps the moonlight is strong enough to read by. I take along just in case. 

It’s a short walk to the gardens, and Cadence pulls me the entire way.  My long legs have nothing against her excitement and determination. It’s going to cost me an arm someday, if she doesn’t slow down. I don’t think she will. 

She doesn’t want to miss the fairies.

A light breeze brushes over the gardens, causing them to sway in shades of blue and silver. There are arbors and benches and little bridges for crossing over trickling streams, crickets and wind chimes and the occasional sleepy night bug that crashes into my face mid-flight. We don’t always go to the same spot, and I have no idea what directs Credence to each place, but tonight we end up amongst bushes of blooming white evening flowers.

There’s a bench there, too. I sit there, under an awning, young vines just beginning to climb their way up the sides. “Are they here yet?” I ask. 

“Sush!” She holds an urgent finger to her lips. “You’ll scare them away.”

I shrug and open my book, listening to her move around the bushes as I begin to read. 

I’ve never seen the fairies. Not even when she points them out. Still, I say hello to them when she does; she just looks so expectant of my acknowledgment, and anyway, it’s polite. I wonder sometimes if I could have seen them when I was younger. Of course, I hadn’t had someone to take me to see them, what with dad working nights and mum’s principal of never going near the gardens herself. And I’d never known to look until Credence begged to go see them.

After some time, my eyes wander from the pages, trailing after my sister instead. It was as if we were in different realities, overlapped and paper thin. Me, sitting in the gardens not far from home; and her, playing with fairies in the dancing moonlight far, far away.

Far, but still close by me, because she couldn’t come otherwise. It was a strange thing, the way the fairies could pull their world so close to ours so Credence could join their play. I watch her run in circles, and then break off to come straight to me. “Do you see them?” She’s pointing to the air above her.

I don’t think it’s something I’d ever share with another person—how much I wish I could say yes. Instead I smile and say “Hello”, imagining a small spark of light in the air, on the other side of whatever barrier stands between worlds. I look back at Credence, and with all my might I hope she never has to lose this. She’s looking at the air, grinning at what I cannot see, her eyes darting with its movements until she is looking right above me.

“Well?” she asks, and I know the fairy has said something to me. I’m staring blankly at her, wondering how I’m ever going to break it to her that I am at least a whole world away. Maybe more. I think she misinterprets the words I’m about to say as she leans in close. “It’s just fairy dust. It isn’t scary.”

I give her another smile and forget my confession. “Sure. Dust away.”

Credence starts giggling, and I suppose that means I’m getting dusted. A tiny hope inside me makes me look around the gardens, looking for a sparkle, a streak of light, the faintest sound of a fairy playing amongst the evening flowers. I don’t feel anything falling onto my head and shoulders, though Credence certainly sees something. She grabs my hand excitedly and then waves goodbye to the gardens; or perhaps, I suspect, to the somethings that fly in them. “It’s time to go.” she says.

And so we go.

The gardens fade into slumber as a cloud passes in front of the moon. I catch myself glancing over my shoulder as we leave, my arm slowly but surely getting pulled off. 

Home is a strange place by the time we get back, soft and sleepy and extremely present. I hadn’t thought my mind was elsewhere until the sound of our front door shutting behind me yanked it from there. It was time to get ready for bed, to set down my book, to prepare for the coming day.

I don’t remember those tasks being so foreign to me. 

I stop in front of the bathroom mirror, toothbrush hanging loose in one hand. I’m not quite remembering what to do with it. Perhaps the barrier between worlds will soften for me, and maybe it already has. Just a little bit. There’s a restlessness growing inside my ribs. Perhaps someday I may still see more worlds than just this one. 

I really think I might.

For in my reflection, there’s the faintest shimmer of sparkling dust in my hair.

Dear Friend,

Hello dear friend,

What to say after years between us, silently lapping away time like waves upon sand.  

I’ve missed you.

I’ve thought about you nearly every day, wondering what you’re up to, wondering why we don’t talk anymore.  Of course, it’s a two-way wonder.  When did I stop asking how your day has been?  They say people drift together and apart, but I didn’t realize it would be so quiet.  I didn’t think it would be us.

Do you remember . . . 

This is what we have now, memories of when we were inseparable and curious; when we thought there was no one who could possibly understand, except each other.  Hands held tightly, a tether between us, and a little braver for it.  When the world was so, so big and yet much smaller than it is now.

We were so young.

And we knew it.  We thought these years would be the best of our lives, wild and colorful and carefree, and we tried to make it so.  Laughter in the grocery store, late nights and whispered secrets, quoting movies in goofy voices.  We were so young, and we didn’t know what to do with the stress and deadlines and change.  It was trembling ground, and we were learning to walk.

It was

Pulling courage from each other because the self-checkout was closed.

It was

Shaking voices whispering our hidden fears in the dead of night.

It was

Insecurities and terrible coping skills and words locked up in our brains to rot, and the only thing we did right was tell each other so that we weren’t alone.

I’m doing fine,

I’m realizing we aren’t ever going to have life figured out, but we do learn more and more how to live it.  I have changed so much since those memories of the past, and so have you.  Our interests are no longer all the same.  I’m not quite sure what to talk about anymore; what I’m doing now is easy enough to say, but it’s strange for you to not know every step I took to get here.

It’s strange for friendships to grow and change with us.

How are you?

Really, truly.  Time and change and distance has come for us, but I still hold that pinky-promise we made at one in the morning.  

I’m here for you, even though you no longer fear talking to the grocery clerk.  Our friendship remains, even though it is no longer us against the strange, unknown world.

It is different, talking like this.  Like we haven’t been talking every day.  Like we haven’t seen each other in a while.  This is a new chapter.

But not the last one.

Yours forever,

You’re still stuck with me, pal.  Forever and ever.

Dreams

Grayscale Photo of White Flowers

I think I lose people every time I wake up.

Sometimes people ask me if I am a morning person, and I am quick to assure them that I am not. The rest I keep to myself.  It is a strange thing to explain.

Here is what I do not tell them: the night haunts me with melancholic whimsy. Daytime plucks me away from the middle of a task; the details of my dream fast fading, leaving only the knowledge that something needed to be done, someone needed to be saved, and I had not the time to complete it.

I wonder if they—wherever they exist—wish for my return on every falling star. 

I lay in bed, sleepy-eyed and heavy, left with a faint impression of emotions that no longer fit in place.  Desires no longer clear.  Lives no longer lived.  I have been many things, most of which I no longer recall.

The early hours hold a strange loss for people and places that I have loved and forgot.  Perhaps that is why the words morning and mourning feel the same on my tongue. Bones and muscle remember what my memory does not. 

Sometimes, I manage to hold on to a moment before it fades.  It gleams in my hands like a fragment of stained glass; beautiful, but missing its context, its story.  Still, I gather them, like a collection of seashells empty of their inhibitors.  They hold memories only I could possibly know. 

I wonder about the people I knew when I was asleep.

Perhaps I will cross paths with them again, in another place, another time.  I might still see them, even if I do not recognize their face.  Even if I do not remember the connection we once had. I do not think they are forever gone.  Perhaps they will reappear in poetry, in games of make-believe, in the little stories I tell.  They could be in every imaginary friend that has grabbed my hand promising adventure. 

What if they broke through to find me, their heart pounding inside a cage of bones at the sound of my surprised voice, perhaps swallowing against a lump in their throat as I say ‘Oh, hello love.  Have we met?’

What if . . . I never really lose them?

Consider

Does it ever strike you, how the night is brighter when there’s snow on the ground.  How the darkness stretches from mid-afternoon to well into the morning, and yet the moon shines like a second sun, thinning the darkness into a silver midnight.

Does it ever strike you, how something so cold brightens the world.

The moon, I think, is to the sun what winter is to summer.  Cold and bright in silvers and blues, against warm and soft in golds and reds.  Think of how a candle flame stands out when alone in a snow-frosted window.  Think of how it looks to the moon looking in.

Life stands out in the contrast they create, and I am caught between the two.

Does it ever strike you, how yellow blends with orange and red.  How sunsets and flames and autumn leaves stick to your heart long after they’re gone, flickering and brilliant and changing, changing . . .

Does it ever strike you, how leaves slowly dying from cold can lead to such a beautiful sight.

I don’t think it strikes us often enough; and when it does, we are not patient to linger there.  What an odd fear we have against lovely things.  What a strange thing, how we want it all at once and then reject it wholly as too much.

Think of the muffled silence of a small snow-covered street.  Think of how different it feels to drive through it, like time has slipped away and left the streetlights glowing differently in its wake.

Think of the sound of bullfrogs, echoing across a still pond as dusk sets in, and how such noise can feel like peace.

Do so, and then think on this:

How beautiful the world is that we live in.

Words

Scribbles On Wall

Words have failed me.  They trip me up, twist and knot my tongue.  They’re complicated and tricky and altogether stubborn about leaving the mind.  I have a feeling, a sense, a melody faintly drifting through my head—soft as silk but tears like a spider’s web, and words are too clumsy a thing to bear it.

Yet words are all I have.

I have them, right?

Words have overwhelmed me.  They swarm my head like a nest of smoked hornets, searching for an exit too small to see with darting eyes.  There is buzzing, buzzing, and I think it started in my chest before rising to the space behind my eyes.  Every letter is scattered, each word rent asunder by the next trying to take its place.  Something is about to explode.  I’m just not sure how.  I’m not sure what.

I can’t reach the very words demanding to be taken.

Words have stolen me away.  They pounce on each thought and spin it into poetry, into metaphors, into essays never to be graded.  I am carried away, catching a spoken phrase and rearranging the words until I translate them into their best order.  I am running towards them.  My feet aren’t touching the ground.  Words alight upon everything I see, coloring the world into something vivid that only my own mind can hold.

Sorry, I didn’t hear the question beyond your usage of the word gossamer; I’m already far away on fairy wings in a chiffon sky.

Words have evaded me.  Hidden, secret, whispering only in the in-between of wakefulness and sleep.  They’re playing with me, winking through cracked doors, a game of hide-and-seek I hadn’t agreed to.  Faint and wistful, slipping away like shadows from light.  I’m intrigued.  I’m curious.  I’m reaching for the closest ones, bright as gemstones in the setting sun, radiant and strange and intangible.

I am searching them out.

I am soothing them as they swarm my mind, untying the knots they give my tongue, gently pulling them into reality with a little piece of magic still intact.  They are not easy to write.  They do not like to be caught and made tangible.

But they are worth the struggle.

For what else could bind poetry to a page?