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~~a glosa~~

I’ve been chewing darkness for so long
that I don’t know how to relearn joy;
I’ve been walking on lava for so many years
that my feet have lost all memory of fleece.

—Gabriela Mistral, “Nocturne of Consummation”

~~~

I made away today to the blue green
waters, slipping through crevasses of
musty inattention, past the trawling clusters
of opinionates despairing of their worlds
to reach this remnant of an iron age. I used to wait
on people I adored who saw in everything a wrong.
I danced my favourite red shoes off to prove the right
and bled in endless causes. Nearly lost my head
yearning, fruitless, where I never could belong.
I’ve been chewing darkness for so long

the fife bands of the mind with their penny
whistle tweedling, their tinpot repercussion
of past victimhoods march at my heels, wanting
me to swallow pain as good for me, agree to being
ground to ash until my joints and sinews ache.
Nothing tastes the way it did when I enjoyed
life, which qualifies my joining the insipid who bash
their heads against the walls of Plato’s cave. Their aim
is group concussion, so torpid and pointless a ploy
that I don’t know how to relearn joy.

And yet, now that I’m here
with only forward as my guide
and no convincing evidence that death
like the dusty fly-bit reign of Ozymandias
is worse or better than anything else,
I can turn to the cantankerous my deaf ears,
leave one-trick ponies to their sad politics,
appreciate the strides humanity has made,
has yet to make beyond the vale of fears.
I’ve been walking on lava for so many years

they know my name in Pompeii;
Popocatepetl is my winter home.
But for all the pumice I’ve endured,
the present me sees fresh at every turn
and boredom as the only borderlands.
Prosperous, sans alms or palms to grease,
I welcome the agora surrounding me
whose wares and wherewithals are
so abundant, true, intent on peace
that my feet have lost all memory of fleece.

© Elaine Stirling, 2016

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