Three words you’ll never say;
“I was wrong.”
Three words you’ll never say;
“I was wrong.”
It was sundown on Friday, the beginning of the Sabbath, the beginning of a new day.
The stars did awe Esther anymore, it was all emptiness and death, where the demons dwelled.
The hum was there, as well as the vestiges of bad dreams, visions, the cold light that was their eye.
They did things. They took eggs from her belly. They made a child to be a lord.
The lamb, Joshua, pure and blameless with his white fleece, looked sweetly at her.
She smiled for him, cooed to him, holding the knife in her hands, as it was spring, and a desperate sacrifice.
Esther sat crossed legged in the dirt, the knife still in her hand, and Joshua gamboled over.
He lay himself in Esther’s lap, content. She sang, almost whispered, a song in his ear, stroking his fluffy head.
She pulled his head up, and slit Joshua’s throat, and he cried out, his blood spilling upon her jeans, shirt and coat.
The coat, olive drab, government issued, her husband’s from an earlier war, before he’d gotten sick, been taken home.
The life drained out of Joshua, and Esther massaged his neck, needing his blood to mark her home.
She still sang that song, that soft, melancholy song, as she lay his carcass down.
She ran her hands down her husband’s jacket and her jeans, and marked her trailer’s door, sides and above, with blood.
Today began Passover. First born cattle had been taken, Esther had been, body and soul desecrated.
The blood of blameless lamb, and God’s promise, the demons would passover, and leave her be.
Esther collected Joshua’s body to be roasted for the ceremonial meal, and she’d be ready if called to flee.
In the night, to the east, she the exterminating angel, with his sword of flame drawn.
The avarice and cruelty and hate ruled this land, all the weak hungry and ground under.
Judgment would came to the powerful and those who served the demons, their first born slain.
And if called, she would flee, and forty years of solitude and wild honey seemed like no sacrifice at all.
The hum vibrated in her bones and shook her brain, sickening her thoughts, making them wicked.
The trains were not the cause, the rattling freight cars just outside her bedroom, carrying nuclear waste to Tartarus.
Her mother didn’t understand, the hum came from the ground and air and Tartarus, not grinding, industrial steel.
The hum made her heart flutter and her stomach knot up, and her eyes sting, took away the comfort of dreams.
Tartarus, the tall and hollowed mountain, where the nuclear waste went, feeding deros and demons.
Saturday morning, no sleep, acid thoughts, she got up and got her daddy’s hunting rifle.
She packed a knapsack with soda, ammo, and sandwiches, for the trek to Tartarus and the underworld.
Rifle in her hands, knapsack slung over her shoulder, she crossed the railyard to face Satan himself.
Vanquishing him, or dying, at the end of the battle, she would be free like all warriors of light, and would know peace.
Emily Jean sits on the porch, singing quietly to herself, plucking a simple tune from the old acoustic guitars.
The notes are high and sad and out of tune, her voice a still prayer, a desperate hope, if anyone above may hear, or take notice of this world.
Alone as autumn turns lush greens to cold, the alchemy of death, and the world beyond the forest and hills where she lives burns for the gold still left.
That night, she lays upon the roof, looking up at the stars as the last warm night passes, losing herself in the endless stars, the humbling grandeur.
She has her home. She has enough for a little while. Her man was lost in a war far away. Looking up at the heavens, she can almost touch God, almost hope.
The sings quietly again. Wants God to hear here prayer and hopes, as the world turns and autumn and the winter comes, wars for gold change to wars to survive.
It’s almost 9, the sun faded out, and the floodlights for the park’s basketball courts have come on.
Lindsay and I are playing pick up one on one games. She has her lucky sneakers and Maryville Scots jersey.
All evening we’ve been playing, the courts ours on a lazy August Sunday, last day before the college grind.
She is exuberant and powerful, with a sly and taunting smile on her lips, the wild cat taunting it’s rival.
And once more, like that wild cat, she is light and speed, past me to sink the easy bucket.
She’s been dominating me all day, but I’m glad for the time and the fun, the last summer day as we’ve known it.
Now 10, we ride on her second hand and worse for wear Vespa to get iced teas and burgers.
Sitting outside, even among the choking humidity and hungry insects, I focus all on her, as she talks of her future.
I’ve always been the tag along. I am a rose vine, she the lattice on which I’ve grown.
Her grace and strength, reminds of the stone angels in the graveyard where I go to be alone.
Among the stillness of memory and loss, I walk with my fraying hopes that she’ll fall in love with me.
She talks of making the Scots basketball team, and her hopes of a pro career, the degree she’ll be studying for.
I listen, knowing she’s leaving me behind. I’ll be at MC too, but now Pluto instead of the moon in her orbit.
On the ride to take me home, I squeeze her close, rest my head against her back, and enjoy this last magic.
She hugs me goodbye, and, standing at the front door, I watch her ride into the night.
And now, I must find a new way to grow.
Her and I could turn this lovers shower into a ritual bath, a ritual of purification, committing in our broken and wild hearts to wash away the cruel words and bitter disappointments and just weight of life and all our years.
The water, hot and stinging, bringing a flushed pink to our naked skin. Too bright light above, nothing is shaded or hidden. Our bodies and our souls open and plain. In such openness, we can heal and become new.
Standing in the hissing waters, we kiss softly, unsure. Here and now, by dedicating the ritual to each other, we wash ourselves clean. The water carries the day and our sins. Harsh water scours our vulnerable skin.
We forgive each other. We begin again.
There is a new barmaid; Natasha. Tall and strong with long dark hair. She has an easy laugh that can’t hide the melancholy in her eyes.
I sat with her. We fell into easy and dutiful flirtation, performance art on both our parts. Her company made me feel less alone.
A beer, a burger, and lots of iced tea. Half watch on a football on one of endless TVs. My escape from home, my unbearable thoughts.
And I keep thinking I can put romantic hopes and desire for love or sex behind. But I fall in love with barmaids, any pretty young woman who is kind to me.
I settle the check, and Natasha squeezes my arm, asks me to come back and see her. I walk into the night, those silly, silly fantasies in my head.
She lies in the bed beside me. I touch her face while she sleeps. Soft and warm skin beneath my fearful fingertips.
The sun is starting to rise. A half blue and thin light starts to shine through the window. We have to be moving on soon.
The war has come. Death and loss and hate is almost all that’s left. Her face is soft and warm beneath my fearful fingertips.
That simple thing is holy and true. No creed or belief matches it. No pious formulas are as pure. She is warm and alive and full of love.
Gunshots distant. No end to the running. Time to go. The war is everywhere. The war is without end.
Her face is soft and warm beneath my fearful fingertips.
She’s asleep in the passenger seat. I was hoping she’d get some rest. Her hood up on her sweatshirt, as her head rests on cold glass.
The radio talks of the war and talks of aliens stealing us from our beds and talks of demons that are bound to our optic nerves.
We are running from the war. We are running from the war that is everywhere. We are running from fellow humans because none of them are to be trusted.
The branches of the lush summer trees block out the stars. The mountains are empty here. No humans means safety.
She sleeps. I hope she dreams of beautiful things. This world is shit. Our race is shit. Only in our dreams is their light left.
You get old. You get mean.
Solace in still and quiet.
You let go off old hate and remorse.
You lose interest in the songs of your youth.
The empty bed doesn’t bother you.
The lack of sleep does.
You even grow used to the frantic and unhappy dreams.
You realize what was never meant for you.
After all the running and chasing and hoping, you realize none of it mattered.
The demon is inside, the bad shit is innate, you were born with it.
There is sometimes quiet and peace. There is never escape.
Sitting on the porch late at night. Unsweetened iced tea.
The stars above. Andromeda visible to the naked eye.
This is what has been set aside for you.