I died every day
on the sorrowing cliffs,
a wolf pack closing in,
things I knew and believed in,
ordained, then tossed over the edge.
Prophecy was nothing, and shelter and bread
connected to this tortuous trope,
turned comfort upside down and spat
upon my flush face with all the vigor
of a personal enemy.
I fell asleep near the cliffs, woke up and wondered
why I was left here – still alive, no rescue in sight –
thinking of a helicopter, an angel, an army of
hunters or even a large helium balloon
to grab onto and ease my descent.
But I stayed near the cliffs, hearing the pack,
seeing their eyes through the undergrowth
but never feeling their jaws at my flesh
and never crossing the barrier into the abyss.
I stayed on the edge and waited as though I was
already in my grave, and I thought – is this
a purgatory punishment? A loop etched in linear
time, a fire on my back that burns and burns
but never consumes?
I am not sure if I am sleeping.
I am not sure if I am truly alive or a ghost
destined to repeat an unending horror,
wandering through the same torment.
I am ready to see, close my eyes, nearer, nearer, and leap,
be dashed into fragments or be vindicated, either way,
Copyright © 2020 by Allison Grayhurst
First published in “Medusa’s Kitchen” September 2020
You can listen to the poem by clicking below: