Distaff: A Poem

The moon tracks across
A sky heavy with undecided clouds.
In places, the veil is diaphanous,
And I see the curve of her,
An adolescent shoulder,
Not quite half full.

In this stretch of night, moist
And chill in the way of false spring,
The South in January. Harsher days
Wait. Bide until the bulbs and buds
Have made a start, before
They pour winter down upon them.

But in this space, though brittle
Spells of hard frost come,
There is time to recall what is good.
In remembrance, I find strength.
To turn from fruitless memories
That shift and rattle within.

I take a breath, and am glad that life
Has given me the chance to learn–
The shame of failure, the agony
Burning at the heart of betrayal–
These moments are passed, as dead
As those committed to the earth.

Remembering them cannot change
All that happened.
And the people who fell from my life
In the aftermath are unconcerned
With any continued attachment I have.
They, too, are as phantoms.

The only power these ghosts have
Is what I give them. I thank Life
For showing me how foolish
It is to dance attendance on those
Who cannot see or hear or care,
To bend my future around the distaff

Of empty air and neural fireworks.

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