The Gift

A discreet sort of madness

in the raw opal of my iris,
a blue flame that sets me apart—
ecstatic, relentless,
intriguing and sly,
quick as a comet—
but this didn’t come from the sky
or from some stardust I swallowed
that forever poisoned me
with its brilliance

so I have to give credit
where credit is due:

oh you—
the reason for me,
I can’t escape

and the more I turn away
the more your shadow stays;
the more I age, the more the lines
on my face assume their place
in the maps that trace
your own

You may not know
all the monsters inside you
which I have given tender names to
and fed on tiny violets, cowdung
and my own bones

You may never know
how you ignited me,
jump-started the pilot light
in the oven of my mind—
unnatural fire, restless hunger
bright blue flame in the dark
that no one quite understood
but you,

oh you, you—
conceiver of me,
I can’t run from the shade
of my family tree

I’m not asking for sympathy
or an apology or another promise
to not burn as fires tend to, or any noble epiphany
of love, but simply this:
a handshake of soldiers
perched beside an abyss

who narrowly avoided toppling
into a hell I’ve learned isn’t as perverse
as we’ve been warned of—
but we can’t retrieve what’s lost in war
and I can’t return
to the battlefield
with you,

—oh you,
revealer of me
dark mirror of
my symmetry—

satyr, genie,
escape artist,
you can’t escape anymore—
you’ve trapped yourself
into the pale vial of my skin
in the quadrille-ruled pages of my mind
in blue fountain pen ink
and, like a constant splinter,
too deep in my heart to pluck out
without bleeding to death
so there’s no way out, you see, no way—
you’re stuck in here with me
whether you like it or not

oh you, you—
we’ll just have to learn this art
of touching from afar—
it comes naturally,
once you get used to it
just nod if you’ve heard this
and don’t feel sorry,
don’t toss in token coins
to pay for what was never stolen—
and don’t try to fix
what was never broken
for I am whole
and always was
because you were never
apart from me,

oh you—
you, inspirer of me
I don’t need to ask you
to set myself free

for I lack nothing, in fact:
I am white and blue
I am whole and intact
and true to my origin:
free radical, loose cannon,
a story with no moral
and no excuses,
looking into a room
of broken glass
that no one uses
but which will soon pass
for an excellent mosaic
with the proper grout

and my artisan hands
that were built from yours
will work this mess out,
with kid gloves
and a professional touch

oh you
oh you
don’t you understand
I’m beyond what you thought
I could ever comprehend:

because of you, you, you
I am me—
heiress of solar flares and hot air,
drifting far too high
in the atmosphere
like Icarus,
only I am wiser than he,
simple rascal,
poor drowning bastard
for I know
I never needed wings
to fly—

it wasn’t your fault
you didn’t realize
the wax and feather mess
would someday melt,
breaking apart
the fabric of my heart—
but you thought it was better
to maintain the appearance
of wings,

and this gift
of survival
you have given me
has taught me everything
about the sun—
and I have learned
to hold my eyes open
as the blue spots burn
a secret cuneiform
in without pain,
which the naked eye
is blind to—
oh you
oh you

fountain of my madness
shaker of my snow
twisted mirror of genius
source of my glow
I thank you for this gift—
because all good things
come with a price,
and I don’t deny yours was a bit high
but I know that there’s no sky
without a sun
and no one
can take you
from me—

even if I must fly
at a distance.

© Psyche Marks 2006

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