The Mantle

Where will we go, Love? To be held in caring arms and know we are not alone in all of this?

My paralytic legs and shaking limbs, I become a mannequin filled with lead for you to carry, without the luxury of a silent mind and sealed lips.

My skin still drinks your touch and every brush with walls and corners and floors.

My nerves are awake like hot electric wires ready to spark a flash of pain, a flame resp­onding to fuel, surging under pressured hands.

Fingertips digging in to save me from the hard ground call forth the storm to remind me who is really in charge.

Try as we may to spare and protect, Disintegration has her way with me. My porcelain bones threaten to shatter into tiny grains of sand,

and you can’t cover your eyes if I tear open.

And your heart breaks a little more every time you see the clouds in my face and the lines deepening between my brow.

My heart breaks a little more every day I wake to dimmer light and shadows streaking in my sight, harbingers of the darkness to come

and cast canopies over your head to block out the sun.

And we grieve the end of times, saying goodbye to former lives when we could dance together on mountain sides

and swim together in restless seas.

When we rose and fell with the rhythm of Moonsong and remembered home on distant stars, worlds vanishing in the aftermath of Earth’s birth.

Her heartbeat draws the sacrifice of lighter planes not dense enough to hold their place, absorbed into the veins of the web giving her life.

We dissolved so fast to recapitulate here, we left some parts of ourselves.

Incarnation hurts like hell when pieces of you are somewhere else.

And maybe they belong to another now, holding her together instead of me. And I hope she dreams well for the good of all,

and learns how to make them come true, better than I ever could.

So I can let go and be happy for the ones who come after we paved the way with supple waters of our blood and tears,

and glistening feathers plucked from our luminous wings, that they may walk softer in a gentler place, more whole than they were before.

And we can celebrate what’s in store for a dying world when dreamers have the strength to open their hearts and breathe life into her once more

with the wonder of all they love to create.

Copyright ©️Sheyorah Naify, 2021

Art: The Sense of Sight by Annie Swynnerton.

Author’s Note: this piece was written about living with Chronic Degenerative Disease with a partner who is the only one helping care for me on a daily basis. It uses the power of story and personal mythos to help come to terms with increasing challenges and limitations.

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