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Den of the Manticore 


Even as I walked the perfumed gardens in June,

I couldn't see the wall from there,

Or how a tide could turn,

As she said it would have to come as practice


My eyes weren't sharpened by the winds,

That took their cue from the waning sun,

Even as he ran his fingers through my hair,

Sensing more, the ill that might take




As I made myself dulled, eyes down against the snow, 

It took apart some of the agents, quietly, 

Even when it was called out from the street below, 

I'd set it aside, rest a cup upon it 

It's appealing now, sometimes, the shudder of it, 

Despite the days still seeming dark, 

And the toughest of the shadows grip,

Resting defiantly against the odds 


But then a torch was lit, held up, to shine against the scars, 

Creating a map, plotting the wrong moves, 

To be cast to the air, to the water, 

Then make way for this new growth, 

A crop for a new shame, 

A sign for the load, willing to bear. 

As the cobbles under-foot crumbled away,

Giving way to the steep slope to the valley,

Each breath, and step with some anticipation,

Placed within, the spring, the one we read about,

Not enough of a clue, or gesture in plain sight,

Then later, as the shutters rattled against the door

Quietly, the stems of the olive trees, watching wanderers by,

Deliberate and cautious approach,

Although even the sun couldn't bleach away the pregnancy of the air,

The chip that reaches outward, webbing away

Though the skin was soothed by the stone, 

Just as the mood changed by the dwindling will, 

Some draws beat too fiercely, too solidly, 

Even from across the other side of the island, 

A sense of leather blistering the toes,

With the taste of salt and soil on the air 


Lapping lazily by the side of the ferry, 

The encompassing sea, carrying loved ones between the ports, 

Dazed, they make their way along the slipway, 

Watched silently from afar, through gritted teeth, 

Beating their own paths back and forth, 

In each stride, a mask slipping, a fault furthering 

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