Dark Phoenix

Dark Phoenix

Draft version (2nd rewrite), April 6th, 2017.
    We walked together,
    past the amber-lit porches
    of two colonial houses.
    Those decedent façades,
    fiery antagonists
    to the shattered truth:
    nothing could shelter
    the bitterness when it comes.
    And it always comes;
    I never thought to leave.
    Your face, tilted, spoke in mono-syllabic…
    terrors, as if your skin wanted to say,
    half-porcelain-half-livid,
    “what-possibilities—dashed!”
    as it mortifies, tears the spirit of onlookers
    feeble to its numbed dissonance—


    A rusty blade stirs boiling hemlock.


    Your sister’s name, Jezebel.
    Oh, Jezebel of the wintered day.
    A crash of fists, jars with
    the paint-chipped knocker;
    we wait huddled together as
    cast-iron lions jolt, beacon us past
    the doorway. We enter.


    No tongues could describe…
    that bounty, that burden
    of our trembling recognition—
    your sister’s fuchsia dress—
    the sight of it.


    At smoldering rest,
    the Sacramento sun
    blisters, abrades decency:
    a skylight window damned
    in silence (motionless…
    drivelled, an aftermath),
    rays falling upon floorboards;
    our crept hearts
    too damaged to speak,
    in the house’s dying sanctum,
    as locusts feast on nightshades—
    we watch Madagascar sunset moths
    emerge—crack their cocoons;
    a tamberous bleed of purple
    beats, breathes, and spills
    into your sparrow-speared visage.
    That last light, etches the hospice
    and our faults, ruined by love
    amidst starry conservatories—
    and that canopy of junipers,
    the one your sister tended to.
    Little ghosts left blueberry mouthed,
    stained in agony beset.


    We go into the desert.
    Its medicine waiting for us.
    Toy-box despair,
    and wicker men.


    The hot sands seething
    your brilliance black.
    The droplets of your path,
    entomb my rapturous follow…
    Only wanderlust to quench
    these lips, dry of hope.
    And the moony taste of cacti.


    Midday breaks in Death Valley,
    as we find the undertaker’s chapel,
    and my Nikkormat’s click and shutter
    captures your echoed heartache—
    you, too broken for all the
    wolfish smiles.


    That sombre saunter
    leaves you knee-collapsed,
    destitute by heaven’s flurry
    too weak to intervene.
    Then, your tin-ivory compass is
    felled by your hands riddled, carrying ash.


    No longer, no longer…
    could you bare to clasp
    those joy-heavy memories—
    but you still held on, heart-to-heart;
    took your sister’s urn
    to whisper-weep your undoing.
    I grasp your palm, have watched for years
    as your colour has faded into others.


    Black harbinger, I see your beauty
    held magnificent in the wisdom of scars.
    Speechless to your true mastery—
    charcoaled plumages, refract (inner
    light!) that renaissance of divine resonance.
    You close the gap, swear to bath
    your daughter in Jezebel’s remembrance.


    Alas, I gaze (powerless) as you ignite,
    self-immolate, ember-filled, weighted to the ground.
    You are the burning midnight,
    that which reminds the ethereal of itself.


    We camp near that crater
    (grievous of your imprint),
    smudge the vicinity of our transgressions.
    As I watch California wildflowers
    bloom in your wake, kissed by your compassion.


    The road trip home brings us closer,
    suspended by that tear (a microcosm of all,
    all those Okanagan lakes and mountains
    made wondrous, lively streaming
    into symmetrical reflections,
    bursting at the seams of your womanhood
    and need to create). Oh, love-dowsed teacher—
    dark phoenix of my heart, burn me.