Stories

If I told you
all my stories
you might understand.

But instead
you might wince,
bracing against
your own pain,
or give advice
that echoes useless
against the solid rocks
of my lived experience,
and slides limp
down the canyon walls
of my hopeful heart.

Or worse,
you might stare,
deaf and muffled,
numb in your triggers,
or instinctively discharge your weapon
in my direction.

When you ask me to tell you
all my stories
you’re asking me to reread
tragedies of betrayal
gothic tales of horror and haunting
love poems too short and abruptly concluded
reams of murdered obstacles
and dead connections
long shrouded and buried.

You’re asking me
to revive and remourn those pages
unearthed from the loving soil –
to stare at their wretched corpses,
then labor to place them back
in the disturbed earth.

My stories are precious
like gems
forged from detritus and dirt
under eons of pressure and flame.
I risk too much in the retelling,
in the prying of my ribcage
to expose my lungs
and breathing heart.

Instead
I will keep these jewels close
and let you meet ghosts
let you help tend the garden
growing over the graves and
climb the majestic trees sprouted
from the mangled bones
of the past.

Then perhaps
one day
when I’ve seen enough kindness
in your gaze
enough strength
in your shoulders and jaw
I’ll peek open the crypt door.

Until then
let the dead
lie.

© S. Rinderle, May 2022

Dissent

Who are you
to define life?

You
whose ability to ponder such questions
was bestowed by Life itself
a power older than stars
mightier than a million suns
extended over distance so vast
our infant mammal minds
cannot even grasp.

Our entire species
is but a speck of newborn plankton
swirling in the belly of an ancient whale
gliding free
in an infinite sea.
You seek to pervert grand truth
into feeble fiction
to make you seem
significant.

Blasphemer!
Your god is too small.
You dare to speak for giants.
You do not know your place.

You are like a toddler
who dons a cape
of worn flannel blanket
and gestures with his tiny hand
declaring himself king
over all the land
which is but one cell
in the bowels
of a majestic behemoth.

You fancy yourself noble knight
when you are but desperate conqueror
unwelcome colonizer
who sees only what appears
through the narrow slit
in your iron helmet.

Hypocrite!
You are like a jealous father
who imposes vain rules
on his wiser children
he himself will not obey.

You deign to define Life
as mere cells in my womb
when you have committed 1000 murders
by breakfast.
Death drips on your fork.
Death enrobes your feet and
encircles your waist.
Death cradles your haunches
and launches from your forefinger.
Death infects your eye sockets
and leaves your door in body bags.

Who are you
to decide life?

I know your secret.
You are terrified.
You have glimpsed behind the veil.
You witnessed a power
you can neither command nor wield.
But you will try, anyway
and hope your puny form
will cast a great shadow on the cave wall
that others
will believe and heed.

But I see you.
I see through smoke and sleight of hand.
You are neither king nor knight.
You are no mouthpiece for the divine.
This is not your domain.

You
are only
a man.

© S. Rinderle, June 2022

Photo: Wicca Magazine