Maisie lay upon the roof of the house, outside her bedroom window, the shingles still warm against her back from the summer sun.
She looked up at the thin smattering of stars that could be seen so close to the city. They offered solace and soothing, reminding her of her sweeter childhood.
Out here, she didn’t moon over her true love, or fret over finding another, or feel the emptiness in her arms that closed around no one.
Looking up at the stars, she was angel, above the world and at peace, and even her voices and turmoil might cease.
The Demiurge could not take everything.
Maisie hated talking to Rev. Bradley, even if he’d buy her an RC Cola and a Moonpie for her afterwards, like when she was little.
Rev. Bradley was almost kind, a certain kind of loving, but like the God she’d been taught about in Sunday School and Sermons, he was aloof and distant.
Maisie just let him speak now, his useless admonishment to prayer and to trust in God, all the Christianese he said to anything, that kept him from coming close to her in the darkness.
Her prayers never escaped her head, her heart was never stilled by a holy embrace, all her fears were smugly disregarded by the good people.
They always knew better than you.
Now, with the Rev. gone, and her alone, Maisie sat alone in the church cemetery with her sweating can of soda, and sweet cake, content in the summer sun.
She was alone with her demons, and she feared the future she saw coming. She would have to fight all of it alone, as she always had.
But the cemetery was peace and safety; dead people don’t give you any shit.
Maisie sat on the lip of the neglected angel monument, the rain just passed, the sun now upturned.
The angel was faded and ash colored, with lines of black filth and tears on it’s face, caretakers never returned.
A family of wealth once made this angel, but they were all passed away now, a humbling never learned.
The spring would not linger this year, already summer in May with the heat and bellowing sun.
The rain was drying from the tombstones and monuments, all the tender rainfall now undone.
Maisie held herself, kept the company of the dead, in their stillness and unrest, for not her nor they had anyone.
The May afternoon that she had loved, meaning she was free from school, still lingered in her sighs.
22, the Demiurge draining the stars, her heart, memories of her true love’s kisses, belief in a wonderful surprise.
There is a fledgling learning to fly, fallen to the ground, not yet able to soar above. Maisie knows it’s anguished cries.
A ghost, a young woman, maybe 19, in a plain nightdress, out in the woods, there by the clear and little creek.
At night I follow her among the cathedral trees, on the damp moist earth, never sacred to speak.
By that clear and little creek, the stars hidden, the ritual unfurling till she finds that final, shallow grave.
Young woman taken to death, thrown away like a beer can in a ditch. Loved and loving, no one came to save.
Fades where her bones were, though a true burial was given, the pain holds her here.
I sit beside that grave until morning, keeping light and warmth close by, as echoes of evil never disappear.
Jocelyn rode her blue bike by the canals, the soft spring warmth soothing her, like her mother’s embrace when she was a little, little child.
Just her, safe and content with herself as she rode, her long golden hair flowing behind her, feeling like that little, little child again.
She’d stop soon, at little sidewalk cafe, and get a porcelain cup full of piping hot coffee, and watch the people pass, see the young girl angel who’d saved her.
All was well, safe in the land underneath the sea. The angel had taken her hand. The Devil always came back. But she knew she was light.
Maisie was in the little patch of woods, the Demiurge’s eye upon her, one of his unwanted children.
Sophia seemed eternally distant, beyond even the stars, so rarely touching her anymore.
Sophia was still, quiet in this world.
The crow picked at a squirrel carcass, and the Demiurge was there in the feeding, in seeds spread by ruin.
Maisie looked away, going no farther in, not wanting to be any nearer the highway, death machines choking us.
Sophia could not come there.
Maisie crouched by a pool of clear water. Her reflection was rippled and a ghost. Sophia gave her the gift of tears.
Beyond the stars, Sophia was loving and capricious. Velvet darkness warm and tender as the first kiss from the only love.
Nothing promised. Not even spell craft.
Maisie lay in bed with her comforter wrapped around her, the screen on her phone showing video from the war.
The war went on and on. There had been a second. A third and fourth where perhaps coming now.
Her little room had felt safe as a child, as if the armor of angels was true and real. But she felt naked and vulnerable here and everywhere now. No safety.
The spring birds sang and the patch of woods bloomed and the sun shone gold and bright. But all that would happen still as humans wiped themselves away.
Maisie turned off her phone and looked out her window at the fading sun and coming stars. Any life out there was as broken and cruel as us, as utterly damned.
The angel whispered in Maisie’s ear the the Demiurge would not let her escape.
Maisie sat on the patio in her PJs, wrapped up in her comforter, looking across the back yard, to the small patch of woods between the house and the highway.
Spring morning, still dewy and cool, and mostly the trees and foliage hushed the thrum of the people on their way to work at offices and department stores and fast food restaurants.
Maisie did not have to go to those places. 22 and still recovering from the schizophrenia that had struck her down at 16. Still living at home. Everyone else moved on to their lives.
The stillness and thrum soothed her. She looked out to the patch of woods, and heard the bird song, saw all the thick green, all the life sweet in rebirth, even as she faded every day.
Her mother called her in for breakfast, and her head was already buzzing and angry, the softness of the moment quickly passing, and she wondered if this brokenness was her lot forever.
Gigi smoked those thin cigarettes from the emerald box, keeping the demon quiet with burnt offering, ashes taken in to make Aphrodite stay.
She stood, ciggie still in hand, lightly danced and pirouetted, her feet bare, on the cold grass of the hill, a party girl now a pink ballerina in a jewelry box.
She stopped and looked into my eyes, drawing angels and demons and incantations from the gold welded cracks. These too, made Aphrodite stay.
The moment ended, my breath stolen, she walks the little worn path where we and the other escapees live, Satan always close, our magic desperate.
Old ’70s Yamaha motorbike, and the highway heading west, passed Farragut, waiting for me, for whatever demon waited to be exorcised, to whatever angel waited to pass on her flaming sword.
The bike made it’s grouchy, raging bumblebee buzz, and the sunset had faded from ugly bloodshed to the forgiving kiss of deep, devoted blues. Summer was here and mermaids live in Florida, also easy to find the road there.
My spirit is hungry. My flesh is afraid. My heart has fallen for yet another, plump, sweet barmaid. All three are at each others throats. The bike idles, the bee becomes ever more angry. The night is coming.
I’m running out of chances.
Angels don’t wait forever.