After Adversaries III, Kelli Hoppmann, oil on panel, 2013
Dawn's eye opens a silent pulse of scarlet.
Your skull swivels to stare backward
into unrelieved morning, the carnal past.
A clatter of black wings. You inhale decay,
aromatic vapor rising from rotting carrion
like a mordant into the red-dyed sky,
and store it for later use. You can fly in light
or shadow, become your own dark army.
Noon sunbright on snow: a windform spins,
its whirl of glitter masking your bootprints.
The black dog always bounding at your side.
leaves no tracks. You will walk him again
at midnight, when your nightshine feathers
quiver to moonbeat, harbor the negative
of radiance. You savor that, also, and inflate
a repugnatorial organ with a rush of blood.
The fear you instill is a road, not a destination.
Where will you go after the long, long war?
First appeared in Spectral Realms 5; nominated for 2017 SFPA Rhysling Award