Dancing the Wheeeeeel

(Nine goes for Three, finds Seven)

a soldier many times, I died
in nameless battles, white, yellow, black, red,
bellowing warcries, a good day to die,
grasping the atlatl, banging my shield,
the assegai, swinging the double axe,
whistling arrows, poison-tipped,
longsword, lance, crossbow,
grenade, bayonet, sniper's rifle,
all of them mine and for me
the gore, the pain of fallen brothers
all of us nourish the grass

walking through tall cypresses
treading soft, a wary victim
choosing berries, snatched away,
abandoned child, left behind,
I wail for my mother.
an open door for anyone

a spilled oil lamp, a tree trunk fire,
cool water in a jar
I danced and sang the hunters home
wearing bones, teeth, claws, a turquoise
to keep away evil and remember the sky

A Huguenot in a cathedral
the bodily memories flow through me
the flames at every door
bright windows blackened with smoke
conviction of my stiff-necked pride
and proof that I was right

whispering silk, lace, diamonds
my art in swaying an ivory fan
laughing at fate, afraid, timorous,
haughty, humble, a spectacle
to give the people hope
a burden on the privy purse
a cruel wit, avid for gossip
falling down in fear of the mob

scraping the hides, rubbing in brains,
softening, nursing a baby,
nursing a grudge, on horseback
seeking vengeance, being avenged
suffering pain, causing pain
chosen for sacrifice
tempting fate, a stumbling-block

a confident creature, a builder of arches,
rejoicing the majesty
in the colors of stained glass
in the strength of my fingers
mastering the stone

the joy of the ripple of oxygen
in the blood that carries the memory
from the tips of the toes to the legs,
the belly, the chest that warms
the odors, the bouquet of life
that savor of salty water
again and again

in the aqueous humour
the prickling flesh
reptilian, limbic, the neocortex
explosions of light and the

to aspire
to express
to build
to inhale it all

I don't want detachment

It's union I seek
to merge

to engage

with life






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Copyright © 1999 by Linda M. Stewart
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