The spidering of the glass brought the morning into a sharper focus for me.
Hints of one part were reflected in several other places.
Nothing was contained in its own space, but melting with other parts.
It was all connecting, in ways that couldn’t be predicted.
I sat and watched the whole day’s colors travel across the mirror’s surface. Even the moon made its magic known.
I knew there was a deeper meaning here and didn’t move, falling asleep in front of it.
Only to find it broken the morn upon awakening.
But even in that, was there a lesson.
Some nights when I look at the moon, a part of me remembers a ‘before’.
Before this life.
Before this name.
Before this flesh.
I remember the speed of four legs.
Of teeth biting and tearing.
Of bonds deep worn..
And i wonder at a simpler time, but not an easier one.
A time of immediacy.
Of necessary survival.
Of what must be done.
Sometimes I look up at the moon and wonder if that ever was.
Or I am just mourning something that never existed for me.
Or mind longing?
Does it even matter?
Do I care?
I saw the Keep before me, a shadow in the dying day. Bordering a black swamp.
I learned all the whispered stories of it. All the fears the local people barred their doors against in the night.
They all warned me to stay away. To leave and never return. It was a curse of this land and one they had to bear for living here. But I was a stranger. I had the chance to escape.
If only they knew. While I was a stranger, my blood was not.
And they knew nothing of curses. But I would teach them.
I was walking in a wood of flame.
Around me were the colors of autumn. A chill breeze now and again whispered of approaching whiteness, but for now fire still held sway.
I stopped at a bridge that echoed the colors around it. In the ancient wood I saw the reds, yellows, and a hint of the lost green.
As I crossed, I felt for a second the fire on my skin. Heard the crackling of flames. Smelled the burning.
Later I would mourn this vision, as the leaves disappeared and all was covered.
But for now, I was home.
The fog seemed to close in around me, making me feel as if I were not actually in this world.
Sounds echoed everywhere and the lights and shadows seemed to trade positions as I walked.
There was a chill but I seemed to be invigorated by it. My steps fell faster and laughter bubbled up inside me.
A couple on the street ahead turn back and look at me. I fought the urge to smile and just nodded a greeting. Their steps became hurried anyway.
It was a night to be reborn, into a monster of my choosing.
So many choices.
The number can never truly be calculated. Even if it could be, it would be incomprehensible.
Only the weight of the obligation can be felt.
The balance will never be attained. We will always owe more than we could hope to repay.
But that is not what they ask of us. Only to be remembered. That their acts be not in vain. That lessons are learned.
So we endeavor in live in their shadows. To prove ourselves worthy of their example.
And maybe, just maybe, to be honored as they are. To achieve our own bit of immortality.
(This flag was flown at half mast to honor Officer Alex Yazzie of the Diné (Navajo Nation) killed in the line March 19, 2015.)
It was a whispered story.
The poor girls who had been lured away and taken there.
The unspeakable things done to them.
The killer, so clever, no remains were ever found.
None to know their agonies but the silent trees overhead.
Trees who bore witness to what had been committed under their boughs they only way they could.
First one, then another, then another.
Reddened leaves to mark the spilled blood.
She smiled every time the story made its rounds.
Girls would have made the leaves much too pale, a simple pink.
Men were needed for that shade she loved.
The plan had been to meet here as the sun was going down. We had to be done and out before true night fell.
It was full day when I arrived and I kept watch as the day went on. No strangers came before the others arrived.
I stayed hid as the rest of the gang showed up. They couldn’t see me but I was close enough to hear that none seemed to notice my absence or ask after me.
None was going to ask after them either.
They thought gold was the prize.
Never thought of blood.
I had been hiking the entire night though the canyon. I finally reached its end as the morning broke.
The snow extended for miles and I could not say how deep it was. The sight should have filled me with despair.
But the sun was over the horizon, sending colors to the sky and on the snow that I had never seen before.
All else was forgotten as I watched the light play over the trees. I tried to name each color I saw and failed.
I needed to continue. But for that moment, the world was still. Sacred, even.
My steps were silent. My family remained asleep.
The axe was heavy in my hand. A forgotten momento from our past. Still sharp after so many years.
I could see the red light from the fire as I made my way down the hall. This was the part where it could all go wrong. Where my plan could fall to ruin.
A careful look showed an empty room. But I still had to remain cautious.
My hand was on the latch of the door. Deep breath, then freedom.
I left my family and their peaceful ways.
My path would be war.