Did I know, setting out, anything
other than one foot after the other
on this rocky landscape of twisted
ankles and slithering snakes hiding?
Did I know when I lay down my head
that the rock would be the softest spot?
Softer than my hardening heart?
I left without a map, a story, a marker
of any kind. The jackals may have howled,
but they were far off, and I alone. Wanting
it that way. Wandering into the wilderness.
Having cut the ties that bound me tight,
I thought. Left the strands shredded
on the mud floor. Did not look back,
only forward to where the sun set. Cicadas
maybe. A quick blossom after a negligent rain.
A fitful sleep.
Then the ladder dropped,
the angel tumbled down, woke me with her stumbling.
I grabbed her hem, wrestled in my drunkwoke state,
tried to pin her to the ground – flesh on flesh
before she left – for a blessing. We rolled on rocks,
slashed our calves, ripped the woven garments, holes
to dust and sand and storms of land and hope
disintegrating. Torn and fractured, hip and soul,
I grappled but she stood her ground, spun me
round. And there the sudden echo, face to face —
my form and soul. Shock of wonder. The wrestling,
self-blessing. Then she’s gone.