Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998
It blackens my heart to tell you
The moment your wings shrivel up
And you become a man
Dropping down, stunned,
Into the home we share.
You stagger an hour
Accepting what you are,
My Darling, Dark, Disturbed and Hopeless Creature.
I must protect you from the light.
I keep my heart on Dim
Hoping my disenchantment
Does not get caught in my throat
When I say those words to you
Designed to numb your misery.
The blueblack shriek of night
Fits you like a custom made suit.
If I wished to hurt you
I would reveal
You chose this life.
You were not born to it.
But, who else would you be?
Add up the hours, the days, the months,
The little deaths that went unmarked.
End it not for me.
This blurry sheet of rain won't stop. It knows.
It could pummel for eternity
And never wash this street clean
Of the words that fell
On the bent blue orchids, wolfkiss lilies, the orange grove.
The ice paralyzes everything.
If spring ever has the faith to rise,
I hope the words unkind
Did not kill the roots of flowers,
The laughter of future hours,
The neon feathered birds
That trust enough to light
On the recovering trees.
Angels are coming to cripple your wings.
It's not going to be a gang fight.
It won't be violent.
They will come in inexplicable tenderness and mercy.
You will be rendered unconscious by their grace.
When you wake
Disheveled, stiff, flightless,
You will have gazed into
Their prescient eyes
And felt their unwavering hands.
This loss will be a fair exchange,
Touched by the constant
That is a measure
Of the soul.
"Kneel in the path of the runaway train."
The note is written on a lace napkin
Beneath an empty glass.
The walls are red glitter,
Table of popsicle sticks
Spray painted gold.
The hammock entangling me
Is made of tie-dyed wedding gowns
Sewn together with the whiskers of wolves.
Out of my element, perhaps.
But do not tell me the glass is half full.
I know what empty is.
It is your construction.
Do not blink when the wolf rises.
You have always been
In his eyes
Laughing about how blood tastes
Like old copper pennies in your mouth.
Crisp boxes are coming to remove us
In billions of subatomic particles.
Smaller and smaller grow our lives
With every silence,
Every held breath.
Movers are crushing
Our priceless Monet.
What do they know,
Procuring their sad clown paintings at Walmart?
Velvet Elvises from roadside stands.
The sea is littered
With charred leaves, featherfall,
Fingerprintless knives of thieves.
Your name is about to be called
In the black church
Of poison candles and plastic flowers.
There lingers a tektite statue
Of an unlikely angel
On the stained glass nightstand.
She knows how easily worlds collide.
Her parts were gathered
From the strewnfield
In the seventies.
Her halo is the perfect ablation
Of molten glass,
Wings of shatter cone,
Arms, hydrothermal selenite,
Eyes, carved of shocked basement,
Gown, impact breccia.
Her lips and hands
Are almost impercepibly darkened
With the faint green of breccia-suevite.
The scientist in me understands.
Still, I need to know,
Who has she kissed?
What has she brushed
With her dark fingertips?
Rebecca Lu Kiernan has published in ASIMOV'S SCIENCE FICTION, MS. MAGAZINE, NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW, SPACE AND TIME and numerous books and magazines in the U.S. and Australia. She was nominated for a Rhysling Award for her cautionary tale, "When a Snake Bites You in the Ass". She is a regular contributor to BEWILDERING STORIES.
Canada's Ygdrasil Literary Magazine is dedicating an issue to the presentation of "Letters To the Bat" in its entirety. This series is a dark follow up to her previously published series, "Rummy Park", "An Unkindness of Ravens", and "Jepatio Street".
Founding editor of GECKO MAGAZINE, she lives in Destin, Florida and hosts the Eternal Poem Project at www.whattodowhenhellbreaksloose.blogspot.com