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Corrine De Winter has been a freelance writer for about 19 years. Her work has been published in over 600 journals, books and magazines including New York Quarterly, The Writer, Space & Time, Tales of the Unanticipated, The Other Side, Yankee, Prisoners of the Night, Poet's Market 92-99, and others. Her work has been nominated twice for The Pushcart Prize and most recently for The Rhysling Award.

 

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Shelter

by Corrine De Winter

 

Now, Venus is a tablet of blood in the western sky, but at dawn this morning the lilacs glowed luminous in the unclarity of twilight. Nothing stirred. The neighborhood dogs were all silent and the sirens did not wind up as they do when the day widens & breaks. Later on two women came to my door preaching Jesus' words. I read the passage they pointed out to me aloud and took their literature, bidding them a happy day.
While walking in the afternoon I passed a half dozen mothers pushing carriages. In one sat twin girls, peering outward, bored and amazed at the same time, and I could almost feel how they must view this strange world that so soon becomes mundane. They would perhaps see the falling dogwood petals as butterflies- the butterflies as leaves taken up by the wind. They would wonder who was tossing the birds to and fro.
Past the ancient trees which had stood for hundreds of years, I thought of all those loved ones who had passed away.
It's coming through the trees.
It's rising through the branches and turning the leaves to shards of glass, this moon you have writ on your soul. And there he is, now visible, his fingers stretching outward, grasping everything in his path. Pale boy who wanders the earth, outshining the constellations.
A million stars cover my eyes.
Now I will show you that you are no longer in love. You do not love the night blooming flowers, nor the blue breast of the jay. You do not love the sweetness of August fruit, nor the glimmer of snow on a winter day. You do not love, nor are you enchanted by blue eyes or green eyes, or a full mouth making confessions to you. You do not bow down to angels or devils, or those in between souls we call human. You do not love. You do not love.
And always the heart is wasted.
And there is the moon's white face pushing through the heavy oak, and polishing the silver birch like chrome. It scorches your heart to a pinch of dust. You must know now that nothing can stop you or make you go. Nothing can give your spirit back to you. You are like the stars which turn to cinder too soon, but which keep shining long after they have lived.
Those arms are around you by the black river.
Remember to remember the way home, though it be on a path buried in ivy. Promise you will make the journey though it be through a desert dry as God's beginning. You will walk though you only long for sleep's amnesia. You will remember who you are. You will carve your name on granite and in the sand, and you will hold out your arms and say " I am here."
The song is woven in your blood and skin.
And now again it is cobalt, and the moon has returned and the stars will not let you rest. You must wish on them. You must wish on each of them although they will extinguish as you do so, and you must sing desire back into being. You must call desire back because without it every hallway in all the lighthouses of the world will be darkened, and the moon will wink out, and the sun will shroud itself in mourning.
And nothing at all will come for you.

 

THE END