Echo’s Lament

Hello! New poem today, check out the blog on Saturday for the latest update of my story on Hagar and Ishmael in the desert.

For now this is based on the story of Echo and Narcissus. For back story, go here

Echo’s Lament

He sits down by
the smooth water,
staring and staring,
hoping to catch
his own porcelain
hand, or feel his lips
graze his own skin.
Though I wait for
his every word,
I cannot capture
his eyes or
his heart.

He and I are
bound by this
smooth mirror,
bound to repeat
ourselves,
bound to echo
through the hills
round and round,
bound never to
collide. How do
I end this twisted
dance of useless
sound, useless
longing? I am spent
on a dream half
spun,half a step
from living.

Thanks for reading! Thoughts, feedback always appreciated.

For Seamus Heaney RIP

So Labor Day Weekend begins! Where will you be? I’m excited to do…very, very little. Laziness is a 21st century luxury. 

On a more serious note: Seamus Heaney died from illness today. I loved his poetry, and so this poem was born.

You died today.
I met you, once,
my hangover
aching 
just above my eyes
as I gulped thin coffee, praying
for my body’s forgiveness.
You rested
on the kitchen table, coy
and silent.
I read you and
fell for your bitter 
sweetness,
perfect for bright 
mornings, love’s lance
and whiskey
biting the tongue. 

And now you’re gone,
leaving only words
and spaces.
Could we sit by Galway
Bay, discussing important
nothings:
How light hits the water
and children laugh 
through broken teeth? No
longer. My mind 
replays your Irish accent,
my ego wonders: 
what you would think of my 
words, my need for a 
nod or a 
smile?

These questions are foolish:
The reaper stole your
tongue.
My question
mark hangs, waiting for a period
that will never come.

What will you be doing this weekend? Writing/making anything fun? Let me know!

Work is interfering with my blogging

Faithful readers: I’m sorry. I just started a new job, and well some things have to give. That being said, I will try and continue to post new fiction/poetry/photography here. And I will try to be regular again. But yes: there will probably be bumps along the road. So thank you for being patient, and continuing to read!

Today, I have a quick poem for you. I saw an old house blueprint…and well this came out. Strange where inspiration comes from. What inspires you?? I’d love to know!

Love in the Blueprints

Rating: G. SFW

He left me notes hidden in blueprints,
coded whispers for my eyes to decipher.
His arrows smoothly caressed my fingers,
his sharp lines wooed my eyes.

I gave him my dreams half built,
locked in words and hand gestures.
With only a pencil he translated,
hearing more than sound but the
shapes of my deepest desire.

Though my voice touched his ear,
I never saw his face. Though his
drawings beguiled my eyes, I never
saw his hands. I  wonder what
meaning underlies these coded hints.

My house stands tall now: a vision of grace,
wood shining, windows wide to the sun.
He has never crossed my threshold but
I hear his voice in the walls. Sometimes
I imagine his feet peek around my corners.

Do you drive by in the moon’s light,
watching through the window? Do
you look at your creation or me,
sleeping peacefully inside her?
Don’t you recall that these warm
walls were built wide enough for two?
Or is solitude preferable to you?

As always thanks for reading!

I’m Still Alive!

Sorry for the silence folks. I have just started a new job and with everything going on… I have been a bit neglectful.

But, I am still writing (amazingly, somehow I still find time for these things). Today we are back to ze poetry!

The Ringmaster

Rating: G

I watch you, tall
and full of life, the
crowds hypnotized
by your voice. Yet
I yearn to tear down
your gilded mask. How
do you speak in the
dark? Do you walk tall,
lost in a crowd? The
world has your many
acts, but I want you.

 

If you look closely...you can see me

If you look closely…you can see me

 

A Break from Our Usual Broadcast…

Ahh Monday. The life of the underemployed means I don’t work on Mondays. Which…is sort of nice. But for those of you back to the grind: I’m sorry. I hope to be just as mopey about it soon.

I realized I have inundated y’all with short stories of late. Muses never promise continuity or similarity. But, I wanted to change it up a bit. So here’s a poem to start your week with.

Note: this was inspired by another work, by another artist. I take no credit for their piece. And you can find them both on HitRecord (seriously y’all, it’s free to join, and there’s AMAZING people there. Hop on the bandwagon!)

Softest Heart
Rating: G
Inspired by: http://www.hitrecord.org/records/1317515

Sometimes I miss
the things I left with
you: that soft red
shirt or my book of e.e.
cummings poetry. But
then I remember your
face when I said
goodbye: my man
of the woods
vanished that day,
your face thinned
into the finest glass.

I can hear your boys
telling you to get rid
of my things. Was it
wrong to leave them?
Perhaps. But, you
stood on the cusp
of breaking. Forgive
me? You always
said I had the
softest heart.

 

Happy Birthday to Me!

Hello! I hope y’all are having an awesome Wednesday. I celebrated my birthday, enjoying the out pour of love from friends and family (and food. lots of awesome food). I also wanted to give something back, and so here it is! Another story based on the bible.  Here’s my story of Jonah and the Whale. Warning: it’s angsty.

The Devil of Nineveh

Rating: PG-13 for vague mention of sex

I.

Are they dreams or nightmares? Your voice calls to me from the depths. It demands of me harsh truth, the thickness of ice, and the rage of fire. I cannot, no, no, don’t make me watch. How can I do this? Me, so small, so weak. Surely there are better men. Men that can pour your voice forth. Men carved from the stone. I am merely water. Ask another, any other.

Darkness fills the sky when I wake. The sweat still clings to me, the voice echoes in my head.  Nineveh awaits. The God who brought Pharaoh to his knees, crumbled the walls of mighty Jericho, must speak. Cleansing fire is coming to burn proud Nineveh, pure water to sweep away her pitiful ashes. Only repentance will save her.

Must it be Nineveh? Surely a city, another one would do. Yet you chose me for Nineveh. One that still has a piece of me? All knowing one, you have seen my dreams carry me there each night. All seeing one, you know what binds me to her. The man I left behind there.

Lord on high, how can I stand above them in judgment? How can I, in front of him? Why shall they listen to me? No, no there must be another. One who is grander, larger, a better man.  One clean as the Jordan river. Surely he exists.

No, I can’t go. I won’t go to Nineveh. Your dreams beckon for me to cross the sand but I still control my own two legs. I choose the sea.

II.

The waters rage through the night. High and dark, laced with lightening and frenzy. I hear your murmurs under the wind. Is there no rest from your gaze?  Why do you follow me across the seas? How many must die so you may have me? I am not strong enough for this mission, not worth their lives.

You cursed me with this mission. A prophet anointed is merely a man marked apart. The world senses your hand. Even these sailors, roughened by wind and sea, fear me. I have become the omen of bad luck.  Surely there is a place beyond you? Beyond this destiny?

I can bear it no longer. Toss me over, I beg of them. This is my debt, and I will pay it. I cannot carry their lives on top of mine. Let the waters take me, and I will join the dead. There must be peace for the dead at the ocean floor.

Alas,even death recoils from me. Only the whale, your faithful servant,  will take me. You open her mouth generously wide, and cradle me in her belly.

III.

I never asked for your dreams. I saw the life of prophets. Dreams, once a place full of wonder, become tired and frayed. Other worldly light clings to your vessels. Do you not see how you warp them? Even the strongest glass will break. It is too much you ask of them. It corrodes the soul into lightening or dust. I wish to remain simple clay.

Still, you have always whispered as I slept. Stories from the future would fill my mind, and pure golden light would glow about me in the morning. My mother wasn’t Hannah. She would never offer me to You. No, your light scared her. Every morning her eyes would widen and she would insist I clean my face, removing the slightly unearthly glow.

Prophets aren’t people, merely conduits, “blessed” to be used until you tire of them. Or the people grow weary of their words and send them to the grave. Their lives are words.

Your messengers are righteous and upstanding men and women. Their souls filled with your strength and vision. But Lord, you have looked into my soul: I am not pure.  You know whom I have loved, and lusted after.  I craved what I couldn’t have, shouldn’t have had.  Yet I took him.  And even now, deep in the darkness, I love him.

Still, you ask me to stand and condemn this city? To claim that I, Jonah, am your pure vessel? I can’t. I am broken and flawed. I cannot carry your words. They won’t stand up in the harsh light of Nineveh.

So tell me, why would I go willingly? How do you demand this journey of me?

IV.

Here in the dark I remember. I miss him, my Elah, the man I had who was never mine. His muscular torso and arms would cradle me through the darkness. The way he’d wake me, kissing my mouth, blessing my body (blissfully, blasphemously) with his mouth.

The last night, he woke me with a smile full of mischief. “I wonder if this is what it’s like” he murmured as his hands mapped my body.

“What?” I gasped, full of desire.

“Knowing an angel” His smirk widened as he filled me.

“I am no angel” I groaned, and bit his shoulder.

He moaned, and whispered in my ear, “You glow my love. My lovely beacon, I could find you even in Sheol’s darkness.”

“Then hide me in your darkness, and none will find us.” And for that moment, he did.

He rose with the morning light to fulfill his duties: a life filled with wives and children, duty and prosperity. I could not wish him well. I fled to Nazareth, finding solace in old familiarity. I could not share my love with his wives. I was too weak to stay and love only in the night.

Now you demand my return. How can I face him? How can I judge his life? You all knowing, all seeing Lord on high know my darkest truth: I love what I cannot have.  Love, his love, brought me to my knees. One word from him would bring there again, if he would be mine. Though the moon waxes and wanes, I can’t forget him. Even in the deepest depths, my heart remains his.

With such truth, how could I stand above them? Surely there’s another who could carry your banner. I will break under this truth.  Why do you go to such ends so I may live while you doom Nineveh, my Elah, to perish?

V.

Deep in the living belly, I have no break from darkness. Even my sleep is full of night. The lord of the heavens doesn’t visit me here.

Is this my relief? I begged freedom from you, and here it is, deep in the depths air, dank and salty. Another must carry your message. A blessed curse, this ending, I have no more dreams, no more light. I pray Elah forgets me, survives me, and that the world moves on. Yet why do you keep me alive?

There are no answers here. No relief that I seek in this living jail. Nineveh and Elah consume my mind. So I submit, and so I sing:

Oh Lord here in Sheol

I beg your mercy

Spread your compassion

Over me, this lonely broken

Man, lift me so I may praise

You and give thanks again in

Jerusalem, your golden crown

And I will be your servant forever.

VI.

Nineveh, a city full of life and death. So wide, it takes three days for a healthy man to cross, and all are doomed? Abraham was able to barter for the righteous few. But we know I am no Abraham.

I enter her gates, walk through the outer streets. The merchants crowd the avenues with spices, food and goods. Animals and humans jostle to make their way. The stench of life compacted fills the air.

Another city, like all the others. But it is strange here.

The people talk animatedly, yet avoid their companions eyes.

They dance but shows not joy, only delirium.

A place so full of life, yet more dead than the desert. I don’t understand it. There’s something wrong here.  So wrong I can’t name it, only smell it, putrid and off, lingering in the air. Is it my place to know? I bring no remedy, only a message.

The sun begins to descend. I stop at this open square. Stay, you tell me. So I close my eyes and listen:

“People of Nineveh, the Lord Adonai, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob speaks. The God who brought down Pharaoh’s mighty army, crushed Jericho’s walls into dust warns your city. In 40 days Nineveh shall fall…”

I don’t know the rest. The words were never mine, though heard in my voice. I remember the people’s eyes holding mine. The fear and awe full on their faces. I was no longer Jonah. I was the messenger of Adonai’s destruction.

VII.

For three days I stood there. God shone through me. The people came and went. Laughter turned to whispers and gathered into wailing lamentations. Clothes were tossed aside, sack clothes and ashes filled the streets.

I neither ate nor drank for three days. Just a silent witness to Nineveh’s reflection.  They asked me for the answers I didn’t have, that Adonai refused to answer. I can’t forget their eyes, full of need. They begged me for redemption I couldn’t give. I wished to give them reassurance. They too were in a living jail, in open air. The distance to the heavens still stretches beyond man’s grasp. I don’t have the keys to free them.

By the third day the king came to me, to hear, me, the infamous prophet. He came asking for salvation, to protect his city and crown.  Though in humble attire, his entourage was full of advisors, all eager to listen.  Elah stood amongst them, his eyes burning me, with recognition and shock. The lord spoke on, telling them to change their ways.

They began to leave, but Elah lingered. “Why do you do this Jonah?” He hissed at me. “To spite me? Did you forget? You left me, vanishing in the night. “

“A city of thousands stands before the reckoning.” Adonai said, “Go home and look to your house. For you stand not before man but God.” Though Elah stood beside me, I couldn’t touch him. Though he could hear my voice, I couldn’t speak.  There was so much to tell him, my fear, my need, my love, and my duty. But I stood on, watching these events unfurl around me, and through me.

“Coward” he hissed, and went after his king. And I watched his back, tall and proud, disappear for the last time.

Goodbye Elah. I hope one day you may forgive me.

VIII.

After all of this Nineveh shall stand? In my sleep, heavy after three long days, you tell me their fortune. How I may leave after this declaration. Three days of moaning and wailing and the city is saved? Why did you bring me through such trials if this, your known generosity, would save them?

Elah’s blessed life shall continue. Will he think me just a spurned lover, leaving in disgrace? If so, he will despise me now. I have lost him forever. And my fate? I will be the cursed prophet, the voice of God’s judgment. Even if you spurn me now Adonai, my fate is sealed.  Let me go onwards from this life. I have done my duty.

Surely redemption requires more than their wailing. So I sit waiting for Nineveh’s destruction. Let me fall with them. I can’t carry my past, or theirs anymore. My work is done.  Let the world forget this city, and forget my face.  In death, will I remember Nineveh’s despair? I could never forget Elah’s fury. I wonder if Elah could forget my sorrow.

IX.

The days pass and Nineveh still rises from the valley. Yet this plant, my only companion, is gone. The shelter crumbles under your intense gaze. I am a stubborn mule, kill me, and let me go. Instead your intense gaze falls upon me, your harsh breath whips against my face. Do you find pleasure in this?

Ahh yes, you spare a city for the children. Elah must have some now. Will they have his hazel eyes? I never found another pair as beautiful. My lover’s children will only know me as the prophet. Their father’s momentary headache.

They will see Elah day and night. They will know how he will age, know what he looks like in the light. Yet once, I knew him, memorized his body and laugh. I knew him in the darkness. The way he gasped like a winter wind. His skin’s scent of sandalwood and rosemary. Will our secrets dissolve with our deaths? Or do all secrets live on in you? Do you carry them forever?

How long will you protect the children Adonai? Do they hold guilt at the first stone they throw or the thirtieth? We both know my guilt. Yet you let me remain. Is that forgiveness? Or is this life, carrying your message, my penance? We are marked, Nineveh and I. Yet only you, all seeing one, know what that mark truly means.

A Short..ish Story

This is a story that has had many, many variations over the past couple of months. But here (finally) is the finished version. It’s based on the story of Cain and Abel. Thank you to everyone who has read it and given feedback: you know who you are and have been helpful in getting this piece to where it is.

Warnings: Character death, grief, mentions of violence. Yeah this isn’t fluffy y’all. 

All italic lines come from Song of the Open Road by Walt Whitman

The Road of Traveling Souls

I.

Healthy, free, the world before me

Down by the river, I clean my hands. His blood, warm and red, disappears in the water. As the water rushes by, so do the memories. I am seven, Abel is five. He mutters under his breath that I am a terrible shot. You didn’t hit a single pigeon today. He laughs. I bet you couldn’t hit the slowest pigeon in the whole world. His voices lilts with scorn. Full of rage, I hit him. For a moment, I am appeased. I can’t hit a pigeon, but I can hit him.  

Then it all shifts. He begins to cry. Mother  turns, and scolds me. I am the eldest and should know better. She holds him, rocking back and forth. She sings quietly in his ear. Through Abel’s tears, I could see the faintest smile. He always was  a great actor.

I blink and the memory is gone. I stand up away from the river. The forest lies behind me, where I laid Abel down. His final place of rest, where the animals may use his flesh. Where is your smile now Abel? No one watches us now.

II.

The earth—that is sufficient;

I never wanted to be the hunter. I was glad to give that to Abel. The land spoke to me, as it did father. I find wonder in the small miracle of life. The slow burst of green against brown. My hands bring it forth. It’s a heady feeling.

Where is Abel, your brother? The wind asks, whipping about me, always whispering about Abel. His eyes, vibrant green and browns, dance in my mind. He is no longer there. Where do we go when we’re gone? “How should I know? I’m not his keeper” I roll my eyes. I turn my face from the wind. It is, as always, too close and too far.

His blood cries out to me from the earth. What did you do?

Didn’t you watch? No, the air was stale, humid that day. You could have saved him. Or were his offerings not good enough? If he had given you more, would he have been beyond my reach?

I’m always here.  Where were you?

Stupid riddles, you never answer my questions. Why should I answer yours?I turn back to the earth, yet something has changed. The wind blows coldly and fear coils in my belly.

Did you think this deed would go unnoticed? The ground took his blood. It won’t yield to you any longer. Leave this place.

Suddenly searing pain goes down my face. Ending in a flash, there’s no time to scream. I feel my left side. A jagged scar runs down my cheek from eye to chin. Even the blind will know me. “After all of this you curse me? How will I survive?”

You won’t die at the hand of animals or man. You must carry my sign and remember.

Though I cry and beg,the wind never returns.

III.

I do not want the constellations any nearer;

I know they are very well where they are

I leave without saying goodbye. I cannot bear looking into Mother’s grief stricken eyes. I run from Father’s frown of disapproval. Comfort will come to them soon enough. Like a summer wind, it will wrap around them, and soothe their grief.

I carry nothing with me, only the clothes on my back, the staff in my hand. The sun sets as I walk away. I walk into a world unknown. Beyond my first  steps, and seedlings.  Beyond even Abel’s wanderings with his sheep.

The moon and I travel together. As the moon reaches the east, I lie down exhausted. The stars shine dimly above. They must watch over my parents now.

IV

Still here I carry my old delicious burdens;

I am fill’d with them, and I will fill them in return

My days take a new rhythm. I let my feet propel me forward. Though I can’t bear to eat for days, I don’t die. That would be too easy. One morning I rise hungry. I begin to walk, hoping to find something.

I enter a forest, and finally, luck.  A bird sits a few stone throws away. Crouching quietly, I grab a stone. Abel laughs at me,“You always were too slow and too eager to hunt birds.” Breathe in, wait a moment. Focused, I throw and hit the bird. Turning to crow, no one’s there. Abel is dead.

The bird is not as satisfying as I thought it would be.

V.

Here the profound lesson of reception, neither preference or denial

The full moon comes and goes twice before I see sheep again. I wonder where Abel and father are. I get closer: they aren’t our sheep. Abel is gone.

A woman comes round the hill. I stiffen, my hand goes to my scar. I expect  her to run away in horror. She blinks. I don’t move. She cocks her head at me, “Who are you?”

I am Cain son of Adam and Eve. (Do they call me their own now?)

I was Cain tiller of the Earth (My hands itch to dig into the soil)

I am Cain killer of Abel (But the blood is gone from my hands)

I was Cain brother of Abel (Does brotherhood end with death?)

What am I without Abel, without the earth?

“I’m Nekoda” I finally say. I rub my hand along my face, feeling the deep indentation. The new name feels right. She nods, accepting my answer. “Aviva.”

She looks me over, like a knot to unravel, “Come with me, my father will want to meet you.” She turns quickly, and promises me nothing. I like that. She glances back, waiting for me. Only then do I realize: I hadn’t moved.

Shaking my head and apologizing,I follow her down the hill.

VI.

None but are accepted—none but are dear to me…

From the living and the dead I think you have peopled your impassive surfaces, and the spirits thereof would be evident and amicable with me.

I stay a week with them. It feels both good and painful to be around people again. They are a large clan, their leader with three wives and a dozen children living with them. I forget their names, but I love them. I love them for the bits and pieces of my family in them. I see Father’s pride as Aviva stands overlooking their land.  I hear mother’s voice as the women sing over the fire.

Yet Abel is everywhere. I hear him in the young boy’s teasing tones. I see him in the pride of catching game. I almost call out to him as he guards the sheep. Abel is dead.

Instead, I keep my hands busy. The wood here is beautiful and smooth. Father used to sit us down, creating small animals to play with. As we grew older, we made bowls for Mother, tools for ourselves. But food came before trinkets and I fumble with the knife.

Abandoned by the earth, I begin to carve. At first, I only have small whittled trinkets for the babies. But after two dozen splinters, I finish a large bowl for the women. The pile grows: bowls, gourds, and even a small box. It’s not life, bursting from the ground, but it’s creation. The childrens’ squeals and the adults open smiles leave me warm and satisfied.  

At the end of the week, I gather my few things. The moon hangs low and orange. It calls to me to depart. I kiss each of them, thanking them for their hospitality. Though I try to refuse, they give me the knife. It is a bittersweet relief to leave, knowing I will never see them again.  

VII.

Here is a man tallied—he realizes here what he has in him;

The past, the future, majesty, love—if they are vacant of you, you are vacant of them.

It is a strange punishment this wandering. It’s not full of suffering and pain, but the work of survival.  It overflows with the strain of walking and hunting. I am cook and nurse, navigator and homemaker. I am grateful to the physical pain, it reminds me that I feel.

My days are full of sky and land. Though I could roam from clan to clan, too many ghosts lurk among the living. The wilderness, rough and empty, suits me. Here I find drinking water and food. I sleep in the trees and under the sky. The wind blows, but doesn’t speak. I cherish it’s silence.

I know so much more about the land now. I forage her fruits, and find her waters. Yet if I died tomorrow, she wouldn’t notice. No one would notice. The voice in the wind? It doesn’t come east of Eden.  It, like the Earth, turned from me. They are with Abel now. Or did I give Abel to them? The answer doesn’t matter now.

Yet I survive. I roam, feeding upon nature’s back. Even death flees from me.

Am I alive if no one is watching?

VIII.

These yearnings, why are they? These thoughts in the darkness, why are they?

Why are there men and women that while they are nigh me, the sun-light expands my blood?

…What gives me to be free to a woman’s or man’s good-will? What gives them to be free to mine?

I stumble upon another camp. It’s larger than the last.  A father, Eli, and his son, Yotam, work together here. So many are here: multiple wives and just over a dozen children. They create such noise. After an age of silence, it overwhelms me.

Eli and Yotam usher me into a quiet tent. They ask me to stay. Spring has arrived and they need help shearing the sheep. Suddenly I am home: Abel laughs as we try to hold down the largest sheep. Together, we mock father’s tone as he shouts at us to hurry up.

“Well, will you stay stranger?” Eli waits expectantly. I am in a tent, east of Eden.  Abel is dead.

“It would be my pleasure.” They laugh, pound me on the back. Did men always make such noise?

“Yael!” Eli yells, “bring us wine! We must mark this occasion” He smiles broadly at me. I squirm under his smile. Friendliness is a strange beast after solitude.

She enters the tent silently. “Ah, Yael my heart, come here” Eli’s eyes brighten at the sight of her. She smiles fondly at him and kneels, filling our cups. Yotam nods his own gratitude, “Yael, this is Nekoda, he will help us with the sheep. Nekoda, Yael”  

Her hair is dark as a moonless night. She turns to me. Her eyes stop at my face calmly. They are warm amber, yet piercing. Her skin is smooth and young, but her eyes are so old. What does she search for?

“Welcome” her voice is low and smooth. Image of dripping honey fills my mind. She comes closer to me, and in a whisper, “The wind will not chase you here.” I shiver as her words, like cold water, seep into my mind. What does she know of the wind?

But there’s no time to ask. She is gone.

The night overflows with stories, food and wine. Yet I hunger. For her answers. For her eyes.  I look for her again and again. Waiting for her. She never returns.

IX.

Nature is rude and incomprehensible at first;

Be not discouraged—keep on—there are divine things, well envelop’d;

I swear to you there are divine things more beautiful than words can tell

The days pass, and I stay. Despite the ghosts that linger. Despite the moon that calls me. They fade next to Yael. My eyes search for her proud back, erect as she balances the water jug upon her head. My ears wait for her sweet low voice to soothe the young ones to sleep.

One night, I carve by the fire. Stories and songs rise with the smoke. My hands reveal a bracelet. It is ridged like the ibex’s proud horn. I smile, remembering Yael’s upright back and quiet strength. I pass the ridges along my palm.Yael’s wrist fills my mind. The feel of her wrist as I push the bracelet on. I want to feel her arm, brush my hands through her hair.

Looking up, realization and shock course through me. I want to stay here. With her. The scar mocks me now. It was too late long before we met. My feet move me into the darkness of the forest. But I am not alone.

“You always gave up too quickly” Abel’s voice calls from behind me, still light and mocking.

“You always had terrible timing.”  I can’t bear to turn.  Sweet relief fills me to hear his voice, to feel this old irritation.

“So you’re running again?”

“You return from the dead about this?” I can’t stop my raw choked laughter “I have no choice.  Let me atone brother”

“You love her. Don’t be a fool–”

“I killed you!” The scream rushes out, breaking the silence. It’s longer than this journey, longer than memory can measure. My voice breaks trying to hold back the tears, “I.. I killed you. I regret it every day. But I can’t take it back. She deserves more than me.”

 “I forgive you. But you must let me go.”

“What?”

“Let me go on. Cain, You must live beyond this.”

“How can I? You’re everywhere! You lurk in the corner of my eye.”

Abel chuckles softly, “It’s you who keeps me there.”

I throw up my hands, as l always do in our arguments. Realizing this, I can’t stop a bitter laugh. “Even dead, you still drive me mad!”

“Some things never change.” I can hear the smile warmed in his voice.

“I miss you. I don’t make sense without you.” Only the dark gives me the courage to reveal the truth.

“You will. Keeping me here won’t help you.”

Grief chokes me “How c-can I? I should be dead. Why don’t you berate me? Condemn me like I deserve? Haunt me for eternity.”

A hand ghosts across my back. “You are more than my murderer. More than even my brother.” Warm breath moves against my ear and then, “Goodbye Cain.”

“Wait” I turn, needing to see his face one last time. He’s gone. Forever. And for the first time I feel the raw pain of missing him, my other half. My knees buckle, and tears stream down my face. Is it my voice howling like a wolf?

Yet someone stands at the edge of the woods. My blood runs cold when I recognize her. It is Yael. She stands silently, just watching me. I stay silent, crouching low to the ground. Let her go, run and warn her family. Oh Yael, I wanted to give you the world. With my horror revealed, I can only give you precious moments.

But she doesn’t run. Without breaking eye contact, she walks towards me slowly. As though I am not dangerous. Her eyes hold no anger or revulsion. I sit, awaiting her decision.

She crouches before me, and reaches for my hand. “Stay” she murmurs. It’s neither a question nor a demand. Just an offering, so plain I barely believe it. I take her hand, and stand up. Our fingers fit together. And a part of me begins to heal, slowly, surely.

Brother, wherever you go, may the summer wind protect you.

X.  

Allons! to that which is endless, as it was beginningless,

…To know the universe itself as a road—as many roads—as roads for traveling souls.

I dream that night. Yael’s hair is covered in a gold veil. She laughs as we kiss. I build higher and higher, until wood and stone embrace the sky. A small child rests in my arms. He has Yael’s nose, my mother’s eyes. The wind wraps around us, whispering blessings. He squirms in my arms, reaching for the wind.