Of Sable Wings & Ivory

On a day I felt as if I’d swallowed a wasp

My soul, beset by angers all about

Found a maze of love to wander

And at its center, bowed in two, before a Holy Light.

All fear fell from me like dry scales

I began to luminesce

I took up the warrior’s wield:

The shield & buckler

An axe of war-torn dreams–

A sword grew from my hands.

Two wings flared from my back

I groaned at their heady weight

I flexed then to the ends of the world

And screamed to fly again.

The chocolate night unfolded

I passed between great heavens

Of chilblained division

Which sealed behind me, becoming warm glass

Developing a face half-weeping, it called my name

A blast of sound I rode forward into infinity

There would be an arrival: a choosing:

A serious battle

“You will bleed,” it shrieked

I gave no heed, flew on

Touching wingtips to the Poles.

I will not say it a dream

Or an impossibility:

A flight through fire

Singeing me well

My feathers seared to black, to gray

Ash drifted down to float the river.

When bared to bone

I folded them in whiteness

Lifting weapons instead.

I fought to brilliance

The morning’s gold renewed me

I breathed hoarse sweat

Rank & beaded in blood

I took my measure & pressed the Battle

Fierce we were, uncomprehending

To win war is to lose

Each of us the other.

We were brave, skirling the mountaintops

Like thunder, our faces mist

We bashed & clashed

Till, fought to a standstill, we

Balanced atop each other’s feet

Staring, down to knives & nails

We bled each other’s blood

As morning paled to day

The humans watched, stunned, all disbelieving

We were thunder made solid,

Caught in the storm of our own making,

My soul mirrored his

Till black & white emerged as doorway

Where all might enter

Searching Peace.

Carol Borsello

New Year’s Eve 2019

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