there is a small girl in the mist, in the darkness, in the rain and i can tell that no one sees her.
her name is eva and she is too small and so . . . tiny.
i go over to her and her face splits into a mask of bone and fear, a horrible scream and she is gone.
so, i go again the next time it rains and she is there and she avoids making eye contact but when i move toward her she strikes at me and i am wounded, a horrible scream and she is gone.
so, the next time it rains my protector says, ‘don’t go, she will hurt you.’
and i go and this tiny little one is there
and she is angry and when she comes at me i do not block her, i take her into my heart
and she starts to eat the light there.
but then i remember i am not alone and a light grows in my heart, a blinding light like a shock wave and the tiny girl is confused.
she is tumbling in the light and i reach into the maelstrom and i reach across the distance
and my hand is all she can see so she grabs it. it is the grasp of a frighten child it is the grasp of death.
and i hold at the cost of my hand at the cost of my soul.
i hold because on a slip of paper written by my protector it says; ‘he that would give his soul for the protection of a child will not die.’ and so the light nourishes me and burns away our madness. we fall into a place where everything is light and nothing hurts anymore.
she is strangely calm and i can tell it never happens for her this way.
i can tell she is suddenly ok. . .and there, there are the others. her kin and they have come for her and she can see them now. she couldn’t see them before.
and its ok and i am allowed to return from the places from which only a few return and i am grateful for this chance, this golden wonderful chance.
i am tired.
Misty rain at first, painting the glowing river stones. My fingers split the clear waters, but they rejoin. The tegument of the summer’s reeds undulates in ribbons, compliant playthings of the current. I wish to be like that. Wish that I could fold and unfurl without resisting, a velvet ribbon dancing with the wind. I withdraw my hand and take a certain pleasure in its tingling.
Beyond the water-color sky, lies the home of the winds, or so I am told. There the brothers and sisters of the Sun, the Wind and Moon and Rain, call to one another in their temples of pleasure.
My brother, the shadow hawk dances within this distant dream of the autumn child. His hawk heart, running wild beyond the riverbeds of Reason, knows that there are reasons beyond Reason, knows that there are pathways beyond Number. I poke under a river stone with my walking stick.
Snow flakes fall. Tiny vampire feathers that suck the warmth from the land, from my hand. The mountain grows velvety grey in the flock of falling feather.
My heart is at rest.
After a lifetime
of holding my hand against the sky
A life spent opposing Darkness
Winning a war I never really wanted
How am I to survive
living in the Sun?
Her tears nourish the earth
Her sighs are the winds that run the riverbeds of the sky
The transition of her suffering
is he birth of all living things
Chen Lei shuffles across the doorstep into his house. He surprises his daughter, Chen Xi .
“How is your mother?”
“Sir, she is still quite ill.”
“I have come home to care for her . . .”
“Sir . . . a man of your standing must not do such . . .”
“Gentle one, any man who would fault me for caring for my wife when she is ill is not worthy of consideration.”
Chen Xi embraces her father and they exchange chi for a long time. “Sir, you are wise.”
“None of it. When was the last batch of medicine brewed?’
“Moments ago, it is still fresh and charged with content. I was preparing to feed her when you arrived.”
“You have spent too much time in this house, as you are a worthy daughter. Go to the market and get the ingredients for dinner. Avoid Gen Gaou, he always charges too much for vegetables.”
“Sir, I would stay here . . .”
“No more of this. I am here to care for your mother, as she has cared for me. Obey he in this. Go to the market, but change into some spring trappings.”
“On the way here I saw that young man . . what is his name?”
“Sir. I am embarrassed . . .”
“Young one, the present is always a gift and the future is only a promise. We must always prepare for the promise of the future. You are the future little one. Now go.”
Chen Xi shuffled out of the room. Chen Lei straighten his clothing, gathered the medicine into a tureen and stepped into the bed room.
“Hello, is my wife Ping here?”
“Husband, you are home early . . . I must fix you something to eat.”
“Yes, about that, I require that you eat . . .”
“Oh no, where is Xi?”
“She obeys her father in all things and is at the market gathering the ingredients for dinner.”
“She should . . .”
“About this eating thing you mentioned, please eat some of this.”
“Husband . . .”
“I am a man of some honor, am I not?”
“Yes, you are a good and noble man.”
“I am a good provider for this family, am I not?”
“I am honored above others . . .”
“And are my wishes to be ignored?”
“Then please, Ping, please eat your medicine and care for yourself. You can not serve me and not serve yourself.”
“Husband . . .”
“Woman, you make me absent from court and the others will be talking. Let me help to heal you so that I may get back to my difficult job of service to the king and to the empire. I can not focus on the matters of state when I am silly with worry about you.”
She lifts her hand and brushes his hair the way she did when they were young. She sits up and takes the tureen. Knocks away his hand when he tries to feed her and starts to feed herself. “You are a stubborn old fool.”
“Madam. you might be correct. In matters concerning you my logic is often flawed.”
Fear may have its day
Can’t be helped
But sometimes the Devil
doesn’t really want to win
The Magician moved
His hands a blur
He twisted Light out of Darkness
Conjured songs out of memories
songs filled words dark and true
and she sang
Songs of the function of Fire
the function of Rhyme
Speaking Love’s resilience
despite betrayal and spite
of the human spirit surfacing
from depths deeper than faith
where leviathans swim
of Order from Chaos
Life arising from the breast of Death
Speaking Hope where there is no Light
Miraculous deeds worthy of gods in times like these
New discoveries that lift the definition of human
like those of song and fire