it was a long time ago that I sensed you around me.
I was a little girl and I dreamed of being rescued from a tall tall castle. you were dark and strong and lifted me down from the rampart. we kissed. and my mother called me to come down for dinner. the mirror was left smudged in our wake.
I felt you again late in the darkness of my room as I writhed in my bed, too young to want specifically and too old to feel myself in innocence. you were a shadow then as well, dark and strong, lifting me along the edge of my own fingers. I moved against myself and maybe you moved with me.
once again you entered me in shadow and longing when I was alone and wanting…something…to fill the emptiness inside of me. it was a long time after that that I went hungry for your dark strength, for your shadow form, and those many long years have passed into silver streaks around my temples and the part in my hair as it hangs weighted with time. my eyes crinkle and the skin folds in humor and hangs in sadness. all this time. and in the passing seasons I have loved and lost and grown and stayed the same. that little girl wanting rescue and security and a handsome prince to save her from her own loneliness. I am alone. and often lonely. but time has passed and the light has filled in some of the dark wanting and longing, the shadows that filter past this restless lioness heart that stalks the cage of my own mind as it closes in on me.
and there you are, so close to me now and just a finger’s grasp away from sight and feeling. I pour my breath and aching heart into this mirage and spin you words and sensations through your body. and still, the line is dead. the shadow is quiet. the dark man of my childhood fantasies is a silent whisper of my own imagining. so far away you call for me in whispers, and the stretch of emptiness between us echoes so faintly these days that all I really hear is my own voice bouncing back. through the land and shore and waves and wind I hear my own cries. I feel my own heart’s pain. I am my own dark shadow of a hero, looking back at myself.
the phone remains dark and still, the message inbox unchanged. I make a face and send my mouth to one cheek, clicking in my teeth and tongue, intimating a letting go that doesn’t really release in the tension of my muscles. again, talking myself through the body’s release. you are nowhere to be found, my love. was it all just a mystical joke I played on myself through the guise of some universal love? I never felt so alone before, except for that one time I lay hysterical in the bathtub with the water hitting my thin, weak body, or that other time, whenever that was, a long time and time again ago…
still, I know that lonely is just another word for not knowing myself very well despite my resolution to know myself intimately on every level. so I go asking. I go feeling. I sit and breathe and think and feel and cry and let the tension in my heart eat me alive from the inside outwards, seething in my blood and crying out in the shell of my head. I have sustained loss. I have tended love. I have birthed children and ideas and plans and poems and studies and dreams and visions. I have midwifed death through her lonely door and stood singularly on the edge of portal vision looking both forward and backward at the same time, janus-like. I have lost my form and gained the clarity of vision that the muse requires for her tempting blessing on my head. I have been full and overflowing in my empty beauty. I have been ugly in my longing and impulses. I have betrayed myself and my love and my hate and my beliefs and truths. I have betrayed that cold dark knowledge time and time again for light and warmth. I have succumbed to ease and hardship alike, strengthening the walls of this heart to break again and again open wider, each time. I have looked beyond today and seen tomorrow. I have bought and sold the garments of my dreams to shadows and visions of ghosts that parade in cloudy night visions beyond my sight. I have danced naked under a dark night sky and opened my arms wide to the light of the moon over and over and over and over again.
and still you are dark, my love. far away and clothed in shadow. how do I call your name and hear something beyond my own echo?
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Ed: Dana Gornall
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