Volume 1 Number 4


Autumn 2003

The Mirror Not in Flames, But Dust

Mari Miller-Lamb

Someone once told you a tale of horror, so you go traveling.

In the middle of the ancient earth,
you arrive
at the young old village
that is passing the smothered afternoon
in silence too dead for a tomb.

So you enter the still standing house
and see the mirrors cracked with over-use,
and you stare at empty rooms
and stoves too cold and tools rusted with un-use.

You wander the nightmare cellars
and probe dank alleyways,
straining for creeping coldness,
listening for skittering horrors,
sniffing for metallic saltiness of blood.
Silence takes your hand, becomes your only friend.

You don’t want to sleep, but sleep wants you.
You dream.
In verdant fields of aquamarine, gamboling fatness and young beauty,
lie in withered heaps of zircon dust.
Flowers longing for their plucking, dead before the bloom,
hung in rotten fleshiness for a hand too jeweled with gaping indolence
to stir for a fragrant moment -- Death has not come here.

So terror spikes your blood, but you remember and despair
of what that old sage once said:

“Waking man,
did you not know that fire cries?
That not all is celebrated darkness
in the middle of the night?
That death too will despair
when life is quenched without a fight?”