Bereft

The westering sun feels good

across my shoulders,

but it will not be up

much longer.

 

The days shorten, and soon

Winter’s teeth

will nip and pull

on Autumn’s dry teats.

 

The narrow crag

between

the high cliffs

bids me enter.

 

And I know the diasporic eyes

of the cave dwellers

will mark my passing.

 

My sword in hand,

useless against their numbers,

yet all I have,

may one day tell the bloody tale

of what happened here.

 

There will be no light to guide me,

for even the stars fear to shine on this place.

 

My soul begins its dirge,

and I step into

my story’s end.

 

Sea Belles

They ring the seabells in the harbor

for the sailors there.

Now come the dancing village girls

with flowers in their hair.

They look so lovely in the sun,

in gowns of green and blue,

to match the mighty ocean’s blush,

and fetch a husband too.

The people clap and cry and cheer

as toward the waves they go,

A sacrifice of maidens come

to join the men below.

The echoes of the knells ring out

across the dancing waves.

The sailors wait impatiently

beside their silted graves.

The singing of the maidens now goes silent

in the surf,

The curse is spared again for those who stand

on muddy turf.

The only note that’s ringing now,

a lonely seagull’s call.

That binds the briny couples to the stones

beneath the squall.

They ring the seabells in the harbor

for the sailors there.

Now come the drifting village maids

with seaweed in their hair.

Shadow Love

I see it standing there

at the

bottom

of my life

like a

snarling wolf

at the

base of a ladder

 

This amorphous shadow,

Shifting, shining stars

contained in

incorporeal limbs.

 

I remember when

they reached for me

and held me close,

One hand on my eyes,

the other on my throat

so I would not see it

was killing me,

as it sang

death’s lullaby

so sweetly

in my ear

so I couldn’t feel

my life ebbing.

 

But I grew too heavy

with sorrow

to carry,

and it set me down.

 

Gorged on my misery,

it could not pursue.

And when I returned

to the sunlight

it fled.

 

I remember it,

not fondly.

And these days,

not long.

 

But I can still

feel its eyes

boring into me,

And it waits,

black and coiled

round the cold scraps

of what it once prized.

 

Wanting me back

even as it moves on

to claim

new souls

to suck.

3 a.m.

At 3 a.m.

they come to play,

disturb your sleep,

disrupt your day.

 

They sing and giggle

out of sight.

They cry and cut you

through the night.

 

“They don’t exist!”

the people say.

The creatures like it

just that way.

 

Their smiles malignant,

gleaming white,

‘Your blood so red,

it tastes so right.’

 

And in the sunrise,

glowing gold,

your heart is still.

Your flesh is cold.

 

At 3 a.m.

they come to play,

cavort, and

steal your soul away.

Francesca’s Love

I finally showed myself to him.

My heart I did reveal.

He turned and ran.

I caught him.

He became my evening meal.

His blood was rich,

his scream sublime.

And as I held his head

I bit his throat apart

and sucked.

He bled and bled and bled.

His skin grew cold.

His heart grew weak

as in my rage I slew.

“Did you not realize,” I asked,

“that I’m in love with you?”

And in the end he shuddered hard

within my arms and died.

“I loved you too.”

His final words.

I cried and cried and cried.

 

Maker

They say nights are quiet, silent even, but that really isn’t so.

It makes noises of its own.

Even the seemingly silent glide of the hunting owl whistles keen as wings slice wind, and prey screams before talons crack it open, spilling red life like the contents of a leaky whiskey barrel.

A late autumn cricket chirped in vain, born too late for mating. It too, will freeze and die in the cooling mornings, no progeny for spring.

I stared at the wheeling moon and stars, thinking I would stay here.

Believing I could.

I’ll leave tomorrow.

The chilled wind seized and shattered my breath’s vapor as it floated through the air.

My worn cloak had thinned into little more than a long rag full of holes where the cold poked at my legs like children’s fingers.

I took a look around the cemetery; everyone I knew was here.

Did they know that I was among them?

Could they hear my heart, see my breath, and hear the lonely cricket’s solo above the blowing, rustling leaves clattering against the tilted, faded headstones?

Did their wandering ghosts find it as beautiful as I did?

I shuddered in anticipation of the change to come when I heard the voice behind me, as if the very air itself had spoken:

“Are you ready?”

The anticipation turned to fright, the fright to something I couldn’t name.

The stink of him was overwhelming; his beauty, unparalleled by anything I could name.

No doubt he knew what I thought already; he let me fall into the power of his silent, evil presence, quiet and feral, an old snake full of intelligent insanity.

I used the headstone I’d sat against to pull myself up, not trusting my legs, then brushed off what autumn detritus didn’t fall on its own, as if appearance mattered now.    I wanted to run screaming, to call him vile things, to spit in his bloody face after I beheaded him.

As he watched me struggle with myself, I sensed his patience start to crumble before the slow rise of his anger.

“Are you sure?”

His low, deep voice pierced my ears, a nail coated in honey, lethal and sweet, challenging me to defy him, laced with desire to punish me if I did.

In the silence of my trembling, looking into the jade and gold of his gleaming eyes, the tatters of my will fell to the cold, hard ground along with my bedraggled cloak.

It slipped from my shoulders, the cares of this world trapped in its filthy folds.

“Yes.”

He held out his hand

I went to him.