“Wandering Maiden” published in The Gravity of the Thing, October 2020
You were no snow angel
when we met.
But, you were a wandering maiden.
I was incognito revolutionary
with a bloody manifesto in my grip.
Who really believes it anyway?
Revolution: how can we free ourselves from ourselves?
My wandering maiden knows better.
That is why she is always on pilgrimage
from no one, to nothing.
Being is the destination.
We never shared that hot drink in the frozen tundra.
Still, we drank of one another’s warmth.
amber resin scent on your breasts,
feral silken hair,
knowing that we knew
but others knew not.
We ran from—and, to—one another.
How can that be?
What does this mean,
to be forever with one?
Wise naiveté is an iridescent existence—always nuanced and spectral.
Confident, yet unsure.
What a laugh.
The universe is laughing at us.
The world let us think—no, encouraged—and cajoled us
that if we penciled its most worshipful to-do list into our psyches,
we would be celebrated into the fold like lost (but found) sheep.
The world wants our marrow
then to spew us into Gehenna.
That is all.
The world’s to-do list?
A nose ring in the snout of a pig being led to slaughter.
Where is my wandering maiden?
I love her.
Where did I leave her?
The flash-bang of the to-do blinded me.
groping in the dark
amidst broad daylight.
I cannot see her, but I can hear.
She calls out to me with a battle cry:
You come to me! You!
Seek that which was lost.
Walk the pilgrimage,
Claw your way through, if need be.
But, make the pilgrimage as you.
It is better to finish the journey
as a found, bloodied you
than a lost, impeccable stranger.