Reliquary

Tiny bones arranged on a bed of cotton. A single daffodil snuggled in golden glory and lavender sprigs – an offering of love and fidelity. A stone from the garden to keep her beloved grounded; Lucy’s favorite toy sacrificed so she’d never be alone. To say her tears could fill a sea would be an understatement, though today they flowed with intent as each drop was captured in a small heart-shaped vial. Once stoppered, this too was placed with care. A final relic, the band she wore the day she came home. A watershed moment in a life yet unlived. With broken heart, the young one spoke the words only an eight year old’s grief could conjure before the lid was sealed and the small box buried at the base of Great-grans favorite tree.

As they turned to walk back to the house, the ground rumbled, the clouds darkened, and the tree began to shake. Brilliant fingers of light spread below them; enchanted, the child ran back to the tree. She hugged the bark and called out to her beloved Lucy, and Lucy answered in vibrant hues of orange yellow and red. As the phoenix burst through the canopy, the young girl began to scream. Flesh melted from bone. Blood ran free to quench the earth. Flaxen strands crisped in the heat.

∼ Nina D’arcangela

© Copyright Nina D’arcangela. All Rights Reserved.

Forest Full of Mirrors

The forest is full of mirrors that reflect the thirteen angels of the land. It is the only safe way to gaze upon them. To see their glory directly would hammer one to silence. It would chain a throat with despair.

The first angel is the angel of moss. She has long hair that drips gray from the limbs of oaks. Her wings are invisible but you can feel them in the breeze as they stroke your sweat to coolness. On hot days I sit beneath her perch, though I dare not sit too long. She might notice.

The angel of leaves wears many colors, changing them with every season. Green is her favorite but sometimes her silks flame red and yellow. At other times they are threadbare, showing the branching of her veins. In the cold, damp winter they are rotted black.

The angel of stone has pitted eyes that glitter like mica. Those orbs watch the little creatures wandering past. They study those who squirm and crawl and hop the forest floor. They decide who to sacrifice and who to spare.

There is another angel who lives in the hives of bees. Striped in black and yellow, she has feelers upon her head. It is said that her coat of pollen is an aphrodisiac. I believe that is true though I have never chanced a taste.

The angel of owls sweeps in silence through the tangled woods. Nothing hears him in flight, but everything flees when he calls. I have heard this piping on eldritch nights—and remain haunted.

The misted angel wears a diaphanous gown. She is cool to the touch. Through the darkest hours, she pants wetly with want. But in the dawn she floats in innocence to heaven. Do not bother to wave. In return she will offer naught.

The river angel’s wings are white in the rapids, deep and green in the pools. Like a child, he chuckles and laughs as he plays. But do not make him angry. He thrashes against his banks then. He turns the world to shambles.

The angel of light glitters like a hoard of gems. She dances with the mirrors, preening for the trees. I suspect she is vain. But why shouldn’t she be? She is more lovely than the sweet face of the moon.

The wings of the ninth angel make a gate. It opens and closes like a bellows. Sometimes things come through. Awful things. Monstrous things. They hide in the light; they stalk the night. Even though they may know your name, do not make them your friend.

The angel of wicked dreams leaves his feathers scattered on the forest floor. Never seek them. Their promise is honeyed; their taste is foul. They often resemble  mushrooms and toadstools. Sometimes they follow you home and beg to come inside and bleed.

Even the worms have an angel. He is small and ugly and his pinions are lost. He crawls on his belly in the soil. He has no throat with which to scream. But listen close and you still may hear him. Pray that you don’t.

I once knew the angel with the dirty wings. We were lovers in a snake’s embrace. She left me a gift when we parted, half of one of her fangs broken off in my heart. The thirteenth angel is the worst. Or the best. If you should look right at him, you’d only see yourself. He is a mirror all his own. He would laugh when you laugh, cry when you cry. But in the end he’d eat your soul with a wink.

∼ Charles Gramlich

© Copyright Charles Gramlich. All Rights Reserved.

Futurity’s Shoelaces

I stare out the window of my cottage, a refuge from a marriage lost. Even the trees are dying. I hear the click of my pen, knowing it must have its way.

“On a sand-scaped shore where life squirmed out from its beginnings, a mother is suspended just above her shadow which grows longer as the sun recedes.  The children rise from her shadow …”

Yes, it is another story, I have it in my head. My novels sold well, once. Now, there is no market for novels, no words, no stories. Libraries are a thing of the past, but writing has become a habit.

 Yesterday the internet began shutting down. Communications are failing around the globe. I never thought it would come to this.

I make a fresh pot of tea. It is the last of the package. The last of all packages. Richard worked for NASA. He expected sons, or even girls to carry on his dream. I failed.

Esher’s multiples on a plane, pleasing, confounding, petrifying, Stravinsky’s complex compositions, Hegel’s theories, Einstein’s gifts merge into a helix of variables, where past and present play tricks; the child called Futurity ties his shoelaces, draws the bow taut.. I add to my former lines,

“The children know forever. The children never tell, they owe no explanations. Listen, say the children, there’s music everywhere.”

I lay down my pen. Before me is a blank screen. It is past time for the broadcast, the one that will tell us what we need to do.

∼ Marge Simon

© Copyright Marge Simon. All Rights Reserved.

Utopia

I beg to have this morsel of bread, my knees on cold stone. The clean hand which gives does so with apathy. This weary skeleton is not worthy. It shakes and rattles as it moves away in contorted gestures. Shame used to have meaning, now it is only the infinite permanency of a worn soul.

They know what’s best for me. They always have.

I’ve no coin or cloth; blood is the only currency I have to give. And so my debt is paid by suffering. The countless ways in which they thrill their hearts baffles the mind. No imaginings of one man could conjure how many ways there are to inflict pain. Never has it been said that they lacked creativity.

I once viewed a piece of art. I suppose this is theirs.

Feeble, frail, am I. No longer do I recoil at the thought of the black hood coming to take me. I’ve eaten my share and lived long years. Time is precious, gifted by the keepers of this world by keeping us unworthy alive. And greed has never been my vice.

I’ll see the reaper soon. And gladly give my head to his axe.

∼ Lee Andrew Forman

© Copyright Lee Andrew Forman. All Rights Reserved.