Dying, an echo
Hardship harder than
the unprotected inferno I fell into
that has sealed above.
No courage will raise me out
of its burning cavity,
its lava-ruin grief pressing down
like a great wave of heavy water.
All that’s mortal in me is sick, subjected
to this bright and furious master.
All that is immortal in me has gone silent,
its sails clipped, its joy orphaned and emptied.
How did this take me, pull me
into its unbearable heat so fast, so frozen,
draining my life-force with its hot poison,
leaving me no option of flight?
How did I become an exile of all I held sacred,
hardly walking up the stairs,
every breath a banishment from life,
every resting position, a pressure on my chest
like an anvil coming down, down
and staying its weight, concave?
What do I see? Nothing. Value
has turned to ash.
Love holds my hand but cannot release me
from this hell.
I wake up and prayers have failed me,
all my understanding has crumbled
like wafer chips of dried-out clay –
eagle broken, sliced up on a sharp rock.
Copyright © 2020 by Allison Grayhurst
First published in “Raven Cage Zine” August 2020
You can listen to the poem by clicking below: