The Withering Prize

How can I be loved when my face ages so fast and I disintegrate every day?  The lines are deeper today, like my years are writing themselves more assuredly into my skin, like they are convinced we belong together after all.  

A tattoo of commemoration, the shadow of The Crone cast upon me.  The promise of death amidst so much life.  And so it goes that all things end and begin again.  

Will I be a beautiful bird next time, untethered to the ground and more akin to origin, my wings a consolation for leaving Heaven?  

Or will I be a great fish in the sea, an echo of a creature born of a water-world, a memory of Atlantis?  Will I sing a dolphin hymn or keep a whale’s ancient tomb of a truth-song murmuring in the web at the ocean’s depths?

Or will I be a tree, to give life and breathe, desperate for the sun, eager for the soil, at the mercy of the hearts of men again?  

Will they bring me fire, or will they cut me down for harvest, for houses, for a better view, for the paper?  Will they etch their important thoughts upon my flesh?  Or will they leave me in peace to cleanse the air and remember?

God forbid I be a girl again, in a human body.  What great crime would that be penance for?  

Would I break God’s heart to be cast naked onto the hard ground where monsters wait?  The maiden sacrifice to appease the appetite of beasts mistaken for gods.

To bare the teeth-marks that never fade, but grow until I am covered in scars inside and out, and those scales block the sun and I wither once more under the weight of takers.  

The plucking of the sacred rose for a trophy under glass.  The culling of innocence for a unicorn horn to adorn the walls of kings.

Copyright © 2021, Sheyorah Naify

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