“Speak no ill of the dead we say…
We are saying, speak no ill of us, either.”
Corpse of my own soul, from what tree have you flown to enchant me with a noose braided of anger and habitual sorrow?
For thirty years you are the idol I have carried on my back, and you have whispered story after story, seeded doubt after doubt in my ear.
Oh you have known how to goad with all things I most fear, I most desire—
And each time I stooped to admire the first purple irises opening along the rock wall, or the marvel of leaves shrinking back from touch, or the simplest form that grace might take, which is silence— you pulled on a string I could not see and made me start over, from the beginning.
You courted me with your amorous breath, your dank velvet robes, language to diffuse all bits of radiance and sink them into the mud so they find it difficult to rise.
But tonight I stand on the threshold of dusk and smell the odor of lavender in the window, the green of reviving herbs—
For all the times I have kissed you full on the mouth, my mouth is yet unburnt.
And I remember the richness of my inheritance, the ransomed cache of memories, the rituals for shedding scales and changing skins—