This poem began its life very differently. It was a love poem written in ’97. Sappy, and way too heavily influenced by the music I was listening to at the time, I cut it down. All that remained was an idea.
Love, at first. But then it morphed into a mixture of mistakes and grace and protection. A reminder that we always need to guard our hearts from evil.
I first met you on a midnight.
You held my hand up the raven's hill
all turned to dew and silver.
Somewhere between the Milky Way
and a marker, you made a promise.
(Do you remember?)
The next time I saw you,
we traded lives in an orange grove,
not far from the shadows of dragons.
You asked me to stay; I asked you to go.
You didn't look back--you circled back.
I searched for you--
threw messages into threads of light.
You sent them to sinking islands,
a palace shaped by flames, and the sea of trees.
You were never subtle.
That didn't work with me.
At the end of it all, you left me
with a knife and a Bible.
You never imagined I would read what I hollowed.
When she pulled me out of your spiral,
I finally saw the slits in your skin.
(the same shape as mine)
Time won't heal what you stole.
The memories you left cut-heal-cut,
but you will not win.
The old has passed away. In my place,
a tree, small but sturdy, stands against you.
Its worth you will never understand.
Because you once held a gun to my head,
my finger on the trigger.
Yet I am still here.
Your weapons are but whispers.
My armor is the Word,
and between two thieves, you will always lose.