To the Heart

Apparently yes, you can fall asleep while already sleeping.

 

The procession walks on

Through hushed

Forest, dark and snow-

Coated, a wide lane of deep

Drift between tall walls

Of trunks, bare and black.

We follow, strangers

In this land, and wanting

To try the local custom,

However cold and long

It is. We fall behind,

And as I walk,

Words appear within the snow,

Letters imprinted, sunk,

That warn of fears to come.

I keep on, my feet breaking

More and more writing,

Unable to stop long enough

To read it all, but I can get

The gist – to reach the end

Of this way, you must

Face what scares you most.

The snow clings

To me now, a blanket

Surprisingly warm,

Like cotton, enveloping me

Piece by piece until

I can no longer see, or move.

I fall

Into a sleep deeper than sleep,

And in the darkness find

Myself trapped in a box,

My legs attached to other legs.

My fear, the wind tells me,

Is to be attached, inextricably,

To someone else.

I hold my breath, calm

Myself to break free,

And the box,

The bodies,

The forest dissolve

Leaving a narrow, snow-covered path

To a gift shop, the start of a sunnier trail,

Where one can purchase tiny vials of flavored

Sugarwater, for high prices.

Quasimodo

I haven’t even watched the movie recently.

 

Less shunned and in

A smaller church, I help

Maintain the beauty of

Its windows, clean

The colored glass and beat

The dust from tapestries.

One panel, fabric tightly

Pressed to each side of a

Stained scene, I pull,

And down it drops,

Too far for me

To press it back in place

In time. The congregation

Enters, and I fold the cloth

To fit inside the

Lectern, old and at the back,

Unused, a perfect place to hide.

The sermon ends, and Frollo comes,

Less severe than I expect,

Willing to overlook the fault

If I quickly put it back.

The cloth is warm between my hands,

And soft, and try whatever I might,

I cannot fit it tight again

Unless I find something to climb.

I enter Frollo’s chambers,

Hoping for a ladder, but

I am not meant to be here, and

He returns to them while I

Hide, and know this time

If he catches me, I’ll die.

I Maybe Do Believe the Afterlife Is Actually Like This

I mean it would make as much sense as anything else.

 

We are Valkyries, recruited

From the lives we used to lead –

Dead, perhaps, but in this second life

Dive bars still exist,

Sandwiches are cut diagonal with

White-ribbed salmon, crisp white

Bread, and when we reach the clubhouse

Of Valhalla, the first step is pairing up

And wriggling in to fit

The team jersey.

The Apocalypse Involves Elevators

I’ve been having a lot of dreams lately about vicious, apocalyptic games. Not sure what that says about me.

 

It’s a game, but it’s

A cruel one, the dead

Paraded in front of us

At every opportunity

To describe their mistakes

To still-valid players.

An elevator rises

With six maimed bodies,

Speaking the horrors that tell us

Only the two marked safe

Are worth trying.

The backup at the bank of them is

So deep, some still risk

The questionable bays.

One safe number 4 drifts past,

Occupied with only one man,

But it doesn’t stop for us.

I leap, land on my feet

Inside, the only one

Brave, or stupid enough

To take the jump.

The man inside looks at me

Sidelong, and pulls a syringe

I fight away from him, and toss

Out the side, hundreds of feet below.

He says it was only sedative,

To ensure his safety from me.

I keep an eye on him

The whole way down,

Just to be sure.

Revel

One of those dreams that certainly had more depth to it that you’re happy not to remember.

 

We don’t plan to stay here long,

At this inn at the side of the town.

A night, maybe two, several of us

Traveling far, and needing a break.

We use the amenities, and later find

Our way to our rooms blocked,

A line of people snaked

Across the long lobby floor,

Dancing, celebrating,

All with smiles to split

Their faces.

 

The boldest of us

Finally, stops the next reveler

And she, a beautiful woman

Still dancing as she pauses,

Graciously lets the whole of us pass

Through the widening gap.

The swaying movements are

Familiar to me, and when I look

Closely, I see a trace of blood

On every white sleeve.

I know this dance, and I know

The sacrifice. We won’t stay here

At all, tonight.