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The promethean draw of winter stars
new leaves bathed in twinkling lights
hung by the low-slung Moon
sweet, love-sick pearl
called by the Sea and unable to answer--
You roll the clouds in waves across the sky
cloaking yourself when it is too painful
for him to see
what he cannot hold.
Self,
Here are the ways you have been loved
Instead of the ways you have lost it.

You have known love the color of autumn dogwood  
The deep red of want
Rising in the cheeks like steam.
The magnetic pull of moon and stars
Orbits spinning until they are null
The rush of blood in the ears
Tempests in the paths of plans.

You have known love the shade of fall juniper
The argent blue of constancy
Silver dust on fingertips
Invisible until tasted.
Pepper and pine, the flavor of rain
And washes of hope.

You have known love the hue of October roses
The bittersweet fragile pink
Bright and fast and pure
delicate as a dream on waking,
fading in the opening of an eye,
Its memory more solid than its time.

Self,
You have loved and loved and loved
And you have been loved.
And on the nights this does not fill your cup
When your arms are empty
Your voice dry,
Wait, work, and wonder
Through solstice, equinox, eclipse,
For each in their season returns and returns
And all seasons come anew.
I move through the woods in ritual
The trees have shed their leaves like
Third sons and eldest daughters,
They cling bravely until the wind uncurls their hands
and bears them away from home.  
A scavenger, I search them out, hold them between finger and thumb,
Their last embrace.

Sometimes I will pluck a fading life from a branch,
melded amber and crimson,
the dregs of sun in their veins,
offered in the last vibrance of summer’s heat.
At home, I press them between pages,
tiny spells of weight and gravity
cast to keep their color.
I know this magic,
Autumn and I are kindred in this,
Our eyes are the same soft green and sepia of hiraeth
cradles of remembrance,
nets always cast back into memory.
Like all memories
There are a thousand useless,
The umber of old blood, trodden underfoot,
the seconds that dripped by unmarked.
But we hold the fragile, happy few,
High upon a shelf
the glowing phosphorus of laughter
The currant red of a last kiss
Returned to and returned to
Like an unanswered prayer.
My sisters and I jest
That men never get over us.
We have been named
Muses, angels, succubi, leanan sidhe
But we are les belles dames avec merci
And that is their undoing.
Our breath has left them gasping
With unfilled lungs
We never meant to be their oxygen
But they drink us in like drowning men.

We didn’t ask for this,
But disarming, we are soft enough
For them to float in
Belly up, eyes to distant stars
Singing the sirens song that stirs in our veins.

Behind our teeth rests the love
The world has failed to give them till now
There are holds in the knowledge
that our fingertips find the hollowed spaces,
mother wounds, clefts where trust was carved out,
And they clutch our palms to staunch the bleeding.

We never asked for this,
They cherish the brittle changelings of us
until they are crushed in the coals of our eyes
Eggshell ideals, fragile as egos.
Blown by the sea wind in the strands of our hair
they are scattered, undone.

The distance drifts between, inevitable
And full they turn away to starve
We cut the mooring line
After one too many storms,
And search
For safer
Harbor.
On the overpass
a man throws his arms up
In crucifixion grace  
His expression is wandering between
Elation and desecration
Face ****** to the late afternoon sun
Belly pressed to the rail like the bow of a ship

My stomach curdling
I pass beneath him
Panicked, I check the rear view for swerving cars and relieved,
find none.
At home the 911 call list shows nothing
On that stretch of road.

I hope he was only greeting the autumn
An icarus whose wings
Never melted.
Saying that I didn't love you
sounds more like a truth
than the lie I want it to be.

And I do not know if this is because
my love starved to death, slowly,
or because I am malleable maleficence
and when arms are offered
I bend myself into them
automaton clay
deadly mimic
powerful enough to fool itself.

When I ask my heart
there is only static
the inoffensive murmur
I have trained myself to utter
Its voice lost
somewhere beneath a barrow of expectations
unmet.
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