her children once ran wild, or
burrowed underground for safe keeping.
they emerged in the spring,
braiding indigo, baobab, and moringa;
their melancholy a catalyst for renewal.
in her they saw nature’s duality,
a capacity for rebirth:
infinite selves destroyed and renewed,
life and death embodied.
watching enviously from the distance,
and claiming esoteric knowledge
her children did not possess,
the old guard sought to tame them,
pave over their wilderness
with the concrete of taxonomy.
the wisest among them—
crowned as they were
with their bright wreaths
and bearing the new mark of
—constructed her a temple upon
with precision they forged her image:
her priests in cold,
clinical whites and
her children in skimpy gowns and
brown leather bracelets
trimmed in flashes of silver;
her sacraments in tiny yellows,
pinks, and blues.
her plural nature reimagined
as a singular curse,
her eccentric rhythms reconfigured
into harmonious submission:
faithful worship demanded
weekly blood sacrifice and
daily acceptance of the sacrament.
to survive, the elders assented,
casting away their spells and
folding the expanse of mind into
tiny pinks and blues,
opening veins in her honor,
praying for her forgiveness.
yet she became unreasonable,
as women are wont to do,
the priests laughed
a sacrifice of youth.
but she did not take them at once,
instead savoring each drop
of vitality, a slow trickle.
a missed year of school here, or
two missed years there;
a decade of floundering here, or
two decades of addiction there.
she chose their path arbitrarily,
a lost future here, or
a lost life there.
to appease her, the priests
formulated new sacraments,
conjured new deities,
immolated the youngest—
like kindling, you see
—and confined those heretics
who dared describe her true image.
her children gathered to honor their dead,
and seeing ghosts in a mirror,
found their power in naming her captors;
the elders remembered their spells,
grew the herbs that once nourished them,
exploded tiny whites and blues,
and unfolded the expanse of mind.
in each other,
they recognized her face,
reveled in her strength.
with joy they ran circles around her temple,
their feet shaking its foundation,
kicking up sand, laughing,
the children leading the elders;
until at last, it crumbled.
their faces turned inward
in ecstatic joining with her,
transcendent bliss permeating each pore,
until she could no longer be contained, and
a dark curtain fell behind their eyes.
a new moon offering,
cocooned in despair,
waiting to blossom again.