Task Master

How does She do it?  Steal my peace as easily as breathing.  Churn my guts at the flip of a switch.  Burn me hot to stir me.  Turn my favorite colors grey.

Pulled away from dreams I cling to as if it will make them real.  Detached from my senses, I cannot see or feel.  Numbness is a coat of invisibility, an empty veneer.  

My tissues made permeable, I become a sponge and soak up the pools of chaos in every direction.  I’m rung and strung out to dry.  Rinse, repeat.  

She grinds me into the grime on hard surfaces until pieces of me rub away.  

I pay the price for clean up, but residue remains to suck at my hands and shoes and say I will never get it all off.  

And if I can’t keep a lid on, I’ll be on my knees coming to terms with earlier messes that can never be truly cleansed when I’m constantly making more.

For She knows living is a dirty affair, and She whispers in our ears the spell to persevere.  

And we believe if we run fast enough for the Master, we’ll catch up to the secret entrance before it disappears, and Paradise is gone forever.  

Waking hours spent in cages forged by our choices made in the aftermath of domestication, too busy to challenge what it means to be civilized.  

The Queen of Compost gets her prize in the end when the button for disintegration is pressed and stress steals our breath and our life-force.  

It’s the essence of nature to transform but never to remove what imbalance has lost.  

And Her Majesty eats equilibriums for breakfast when we’re too worn out to remember the cost.  

What is sacrificed in the ashes for the seeds to bud? What drowns in the flood that makes the mud to nourish new tiny lifeforms?

We’re convinced that if we manage the forests and seas, time and spaces, nature will one day be clean and so will we.  

And the Queen laughs in our faces, drinking up our sweat and tears to create the elixir of fear we then consume.

Until someone steps off the track, and everyone stops for a split-second when a dream gets a little closer to real.

Copyright © Sheyorah Naify, 2021
Art: Lawrence Alma-Tadema’s The Finding of Moses, in the Public Domain.

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