The following piece is another selected from Crossroads III, our annual anthology from last year. This poem puts a beautiful and intriguing twist on an old story. Thank you Sophie!
The Spindle Behind a Tapestry
I spun thread made of blood to be used in a blanket of deception.
Not at first. In the beginning, I was bored.
Even the peasant wasted her blessed life on dreams of nothing but love.
True: her soul a rose without thorns, dew drops catching and sparkling in the moonbeams.
We all hushed to listen to her soaring soprano,
thousands of woodland animals heralded her dulcet tones as those of the promise of love.
I thought otherwise.
Yes, she was beautiful. That was it.
Little did we know, little could we have suspected, that her fatal flaw,
her naive lack of ambition, was the calm before the triumphant thundercloud of hate.
Because the mind that saw the revolution of the world was a fallen angel.
Betrayal scrawled all across her cruelly beautiful face.
Because the vapid had bested the ingenious,
and it was time for the angel to return to cloud nine.
Black eyes like the reflective feathers of her ebony raven; radiating cold beauty,
burning with a hidden ire,
threatening to destroy the world in order to prove her own self-worth.
A glint- like light captured in a diamond- sparkled sinisterly in her eyes-
a snarl caught in her throat like an electric current running through water.
Spinning, spinning, spinning she went- An inconsolable madness to her plan.
With no warning she pointed a beautiful, spindly finger at me,
my majesty leading to my final escape from the doldrums of life.
Burning wreaths of fire crawled up me.
How they twisted up my gnarled body,
so many years of nothingness, destroyed in mere moments.
I knew my very being had changed,
suddenly I was blown glass instead of blowing sand.
My power had multiplied, once weak bark becoming insignificant.
Heart soaring, I realized my potential. My potential for merit.
My potential for destruction.
My potential for influence.
The woman strolled over to me, those desolate, ghost-town obsidian eyes smoldering.
She smirked, a cheshire smile. She stroked my spine with a loving touch.
She started to bleed. She admired how dangerous I was.
Still smiling sadistically as blood stained my skin, the injured finger was lifted into her mouth.
She seemed to take pleasure in the ruby red liquid, as if it were as sweet as sugar.
“It is time,” and in a heartbeat, we vanished into the night.
We reappeared, in an equally dark, brooding dungeon.
One last glance.
One last touch.
That was all I got as I felt my power surge with that one last fervid embrace.
She vanished in a swirl of Purple. Black. Green. The caw of a raven echoed in the chamber.
A girl, just beginning to blossom into adulthood walked in;
the peasant from my forest.
She walked over to me, entranced by my overpowering will,
her visage beautiful as I had remembered. But her eyes.
A veil haunting, ghosting over them, concealing her thoughts,
making her loss of sanity my final revenge upon her.
She placed a delicate finger on my spindle, collapsing on the floor.
But she breathed, her heart kept beating. Somehow, I had not managed to kill her.
I had failed.
My first and most primal emotion was rage.
Power was elusive as a shadow. Strength had failed me.
But after enough deadly dull decades dredged by,
silence as stiff as the stone surrounding me sustained and sated my soul.
After all. There was no death. No misery. Nor any life.
In a flurry of motion, the oaken door flew open.
Laughter and levity, crying and sobbing, all in between assaulted me
I heard so much, yet what simple potency I saw evoked a stronger emotion.
I could make out nothing but a backlit shadow, an outline.
But that shade was enough to end my quick lived life.
I was, cursed, shattered into a million miniscule splinters,
burned to ash, my life force ebbing.
Flying through the air, no wings. No need for them,
gusts spreading me around my glade.
No longer mine.
So many others, content with the corruptible, conscious feeling of being alive.
Sinking into the soil.
In a past life,
who was I to entertain the thoughts of the essential, enduring, evanescent soil?
Now, I am below even the youngest of yew, feeding their first budding branches.
With a thread of dirt, I weave a tapestry of loveliness and peace.