I can now say I know you
[a poem by Sha'Tara]
Yes, I can now say without prevarication
that I know you, oh so well.
Not that anyone will believe me
but what matters, since you know, don't you?
But do I care now that you know I came
because I needed to see your face?
Go ahead, ask me, ask me—ask me!
I heard your voice deep in a distant night
and how I tried to ignore that Siren call
and what you asked of me and promised me
but I never managed it. I listened.
Intrigued. And your voice seduced me
destroying any hope I'd have
of a life of peace and comfort among others.
So early on I planned to follow:
studied maps and trained and packed
until nothing remained to hold back
and that certain day came, demanded
I step outside, test the air, take a deep breath
then turn and close the door gently but firmly
unto that so uncomfortable past.
I crossed a churning, stormy sea
though only a child then, not fully aware,
followed frozen steel rails stretching
across a measureless horizon of endless plains
in empty and frozen desolation
to a place that held me prisoner for a time.
I finally broke free and reached the mountains
where blue fire shot from ice carvings
exposed by thundering avalanches;
tree line sentinels raised skeleton arms
to uphold a giant ball of glowing ochre
painfully hanging in deep purple skies.
Winds moaned and keened, mimicking
the cries of the ever-damned
among rising, jutting crags—damn the mountains—
was it your voice, your teasing voice?
no matter, turning back no longer an option
with numbed toes and frost-bitten fingers
I grabbed frozen ledges, clung to crumbling rock
and dared to look down into the pits of hell.
I made it over your mountains
and down to the sea again,
though weak of eyes and white of hair
and what a trickster you turned out to be
you voice of wind and water and time:
... did I ever actually see your face?
But of course, for down by the shore
in an old fisherman's shack
across from its single broken window
there hung your mirror of disillusionment.