Milla van der Have
It’s dark when she wakes
darker than she has gone before.
It’s not a blanket or a cage
but rather the stark dissent
of all that’s missing
her own reflection
a sense of place in the world.
Her feet hurt
(blisters have formed, numerous
as stars, to guide the way)
and somehow she keeps
stumbling into roots,
nagging things that deny her motion
when headway has been all she needed.
She tries to think of what her mother would say,
comes up empty, a vessel no longer able to contain
itself and whatever is inside spills
relentlessly, like a river run aground.
And yet her hands move, there’s breath and
so there must be forgiveness. If she can only speak it.
Around her a new wind gathers strength, she doubts
if she can keep from scrambling. She leans ahead
into the void.
There are things we don’t even tell ourselves
like how another’s face is etched in hers
and she can no longer read between the lines.
Some things are meant to be forsaken
on the salt plains of the heart.
She remembers dress up,
having to be pretty like a doll and still,
no living thing.
A small furry creature is hidden in each of us,
she thinks, desperate to break out.
A girl is scarce.
She might lose her way.
There are no signs. There is nowhere
to head. This must be it.
Stasis. Like a pond overflown
with duckweed, until finally the spirit
A girl is migratory.
Falling over life
as one trips over feet.
She has grown out of youth. Over time
she will lay her body down, vie for
an other. She watches the darkness
change into an old stalemate.
It will grow softer. It will say
words of comfort and wellbeing.
Nothing of it will be meant and she
will rise up, alone again and in unbroken
to receive the blessing
of different lips.
Snow has started. A cold drift
to separate what will be
from what has played out before.
We all know the hand that comes
bearing gifts. She has learned
sometimes it’s better to weather the storm.
She has taken shelter, has become a tiny spectre,
brazed against false offerings. Maybe
there are better ways to make yourself
invisible but she has always been
partial to the minute.
She watches the flakes, feels them fall and melt.
There’s a dark heart of winter and she’s about
to scale the depths of it. Whatever we roam
is of our own making. The world
reflects back at her, seeing with the self-
same eyes. Why does everything look smaller
once you have felt the rifts? She eases
carefully out of her confinement, into
her own again, where the heavens spin
and turn, wheeling out of bounds and no
kiss can acquiesce that truth within.