Prisoner

To Amelia, the passing of time was important.

She stood proud as you please in the center of us, pointed her finger toward a blue sky we could only imagine, and declared: The eyes of posterity never blink. It knows who turns the keys in these locks and it will remember who shoveled dirt onto the bodies of our men.

The bit of illumination she followed was long and thin, taunting us through an arrow loop in the donjon wall the way guards sniggered through the iron bars. Long after the rest of us let go, she held on, tightly squeezing blood from welts and knife wounds to make one demarcation for dawn and another for dusk.

Dawn was easiest, not only for her but for all of us. The light would suddenly be there. Brilliant, even though without warmth. Tantalizing, even though unreachable.

Nightfall was harder, was always harder. Crying grew louder. Shrieking echoed off stone. Screams couldn’t be unheard no matter what we used to seal our ears. Amelia sprinkled a few drops where she thought the sun vanished. Coming back each day to scatter more, over and over. Loss of her drawing medium was never issue. What scabs dried and fell off one day would quickly be replaced, until finally she shouted triumphantly: Here. Right here. This is where day ends.

The next morning, they took her away. We sat quietly, watching the track of sunlight creep over the dirty, bare floor. They never brought her back.

I ask you: Does it matter where the shame lies, once the righteous are lost?

If only there were
floor and stamina enough to dance,
if only the music would last
one more hour
one more season, one more life.
Which song would I choose? Which partner
could gracefully twirl me, waltzing
into forever?
There were so many partners and songs.
So much music.
So many dances.
I wonder if regret is a superpower,
a sub-genre of invisibility,
a strength wielded by those
who have grown
too old to take anything back.

While Walking the Dog

Since I was last here, trees, vines,
and shrubbery have all vanished.
Chopped down, that is to say, murdered,
because of some personal inconvenience or a false sense of husbandry.

I miss the wildness, the shade, the random chance
that feral life would peek through green, shimmering leaves
trying to determine if I am good urban,
or the dangerous kind.
I hope never that — no, strive, I strive
to be more considerate, kinder, responsible
than my younger, greed-filled, entitled self.

God is not alone in judging my sins and regrets. Still,

this devastation, this massacre
of one city garden hidden behind one walled city block,
fractures
even the stalwart.



©Vera S. Scott

LIKE YELLING AT MIRRORS

 

How many ways are there to say,
to be gauche.
Today I will probably hit them all. Today,
all these years later, I am once again
angry with you.
Oh, I know, and you know,
that doesn’t change the love
or the grief,
that if anything it adds to
the personal guilt. But we need you.
Here.
Now.
But you’re still gone.
As completely and as foolishly as ever,
and it is just as when being without you was new and difficult to navigate,
a struggle to walk beyond.
See, I am still stumbling and tripping.
And you aren’t there to help catch…
any of us.