A Prayer for A Damned.

I sat by a child once,

and together, we stared

through the glare of the light in a clear,

unmarked pane, into a field of beauty.

 

It was empty, this field,

lush with greenness,

not at all like the fields of my home–

where the grass was yellow, and dry,

earth dripping through, and even in

greenness its blades cut your feet–

this was a field of fairy-tales, really;

 

From our places, we could tell,

that to step out there, would be

to step in–to grasses so soft, our

feet would taste them like full,

dewy moss; the flowers would

waft with everything the stories

told us of: honeysuckle’s breath

gentle upon the skin of our cheek,

nectar’s sweetness dripping from

hummingbird’s beak, and this place,

this field too pretty to be true, would

be the perfect clime–asking no more

from the skin of our bodies, than the

strange dichotomy of warm summer

showers bringing relief, not desperation,

in August’s heat;

 

So, I held out my hand to this child,

and she took it, the window (for that

is what it was), transforming into a

tall door made entirely of glass, the

light bathing it so fiercely, no form of

the space we left behind, remained

visible to the eye,

and we stepped into the field;

 

The grass was as soft beneath our feet

as I had imagined:

the dark stains of the soil beneath it

did not mar our heels, and the petals

were as fragile, and fragrant,

as we’d dreamt them to be;

 

I took the child’s hand, and unfolded her fist,

smoothened its creases into a welcoming

plane, but when I pressed her hand beneath

the blooming bud of flowers, her fist curled

yet again, hardened into stone;

 

With each flower, and bud, and sweet fruit

I offered, her fist only grew harder, and colder,

fingers solid, and unbreachable, no space even

for water to pry;

 

She looked up at me, face guileless, and so unperplexed,

for all the trouble this seemed to cause me, that at last,

I paused,

and knelt before her, to ask—

 

“Why don’t you want to hold the blooms of the

world, in your uncurled palm, sweet child?”

 

But she only stared at me with a gaze of pity,

and hardened her fist until it felt that if I should

not let go, my hands, too, would turn to stone;

 

When I let her go, her hand seemed to soften,

I watched with mine own eyes, as its

brown flesh became new,

 

She laid her palms beneath the blooms,

in the practice of gardeners,

and the petals seemed to gain new life,

with each second of her touch;

 

Flowers bloomed into brightness, fruit burst

into fullness, and when she plucked them from

their stems, they ne’er bruised,

nor seemed to bear a mark of taint,

and thus we went, bloom, by bloom, her

dropping tender, sweet fruit into my own palms,

I eating my fill, and making myself a crown of flowers,

 

Once I’d eaten my fill, I stretched out my hand

once more, to gift her what she had given me,

but the second I offered fruit to her, her face

would crumple with distaste, and when I held

her hand to roses, the stone would form yet again,

growing rough, and cold, and hard,

crushing from sepal to petal;

 

Thus, we went a hundred days, twenty years,

fifty years, but no matter what I did, she would

not take from my hand, or by her own,

of what the field of beauty had to offer;

 

At last, I had had enough.

 

I looked down upon her little head,

and turned her face toward me,

fingers grazing the stone-broken scar we shared,

 

I held her gently by the chin,

and in will, for hours on end,

a battle, fiercely, we did rage:

 

bursting, soft fruit held out,

stone-fisted, peculiar smile laid out;

 

I huffed,

 

She laughed,

 

But no matter how I begged,

no matter how close I came

to being stone myself,

no difference did it make to her;

 

Finally, I let go, and waited to see what she would do,

and that confounding, frustrating child,

stepped through the door, and disappeared.

 

I stood, hands on hips, and watched in concern,

as she brought person after person,

to wade through the garden,

be fed by her hand,

and gifted crowns of

flowers;

 

yet, for each child, and vagabond,

and world-weary soul,

not a one would she eat from,

not a fruit would she taste;

 

It was one such afternoon, that she collapsed, when

the last of our strange, and frequent guests,

had been fed, and nursed, and watered,

 

I picked her up, and set her down, just

under the tree of showers, hoping

she would at least drink her fill,

but she only stretched beneath its showers,

and let it freckle her brown, drawn face;

 

I knelt, and raised her chin towards it, whispering,

 

“Sweet Child, why won’t you drink of the fountain?”

 

She sighed, and cupped her hand beneath it, and I

cried finally with relief,

 

But instead of sipping from her palm,

she raised it to my cracked lips’ surface.

 

K.N.O.W. April 1 – 4, 2019. NaPoWriMo Day 2.

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