It was during the blackout,
In the time of the plague.
I came back to our apartment, leading my exhausted horse,
The cross on my chest dotted with sprays of blood
Like funeral flowers.
You never understood,
When I spoke of slaughter.
Yes, you let me tremble, bare-skinned, in your arms, in the dark,
My heart the very last thing unsheathed;
But I think you still pictured the dead, if you pictured them at all,
Laid straight and pretty in fragrant new rosewood coffins
Unmarred, like asparagus stalks upon a plate.
In your version, they do not lurch,
Cradling their guts in their hands,
Grown men, dying, calling for their mothers.
It was during the scaly week,
The interminable seven days without you,
That hopelessness seeped into me, like poison through a corrupted membrane.
I am your prickly girl, laying my dented helmet
On the counter at the 7-11, embarrassing you.
Haunting the kitchen, I touched my fingers to your copper pots,
So emblematic of the order, the care, the warmth that is you, baby.
I wept. I did.
Then, I lit smudge sticks to banish myself
From this good place where I no longer belong.
In war, in the smoky mornings,
We would sift through the dead and maimed, taking their coins, their shoes,
Anything we could use and carry.
In the dawn, riding slowly along the freeway ramp east of town, with the rising sun behind us,
Our horses' hooves made a jarring racket,
And we shocked the early commuters with our taken scalps
And the heads of our enemies on skewers.
Over time, I know, Love,
That I have become foreign and hard.
Your friends hate me, they say I smell like a stable;
They exchange looks and discuss the white scar
That runs jagged through my short-shorn hair.
So, bless you for coming back,
Like undeserved, untenable salvation.
You hold my head as the television drones, now that the power is back
And the plague has gone.
You kiss my scar as if you were a mother
And I were good, and worthy, and beautiful.
for Monday Melting #14. I had to use these words: tremble, prickly, lurch, asparagus, blackout, copper, scaly, smudge, skewer, sift, membrane and slaughter. Also linked to dverse open link #41.