I knew the message was clear. In the dream
a hungry tribal pig climbed into my bed
sank its carnivorous teeth into my wrist
and dragged me under.
I knew by the painted markings and hollow eyes
from what parts my harbinger hailed. We’d met before
when neither of us was lean or tired or branded.
It knows my terrible secret:
on my own, I am not particularly brave.
I battle the inevitable exile
send poems to defend my father’s good name.
It’s only in those moments of pure uncertainty and terror
when ecstasy takes over and I find my own power.
Thinking back, I try to remember
when I was thusly marked.
Remembering is hard.
The maps have all disappeared.
I reject every advantage.
I flaunt the politest of instructions.
I laugh at the kindest admonishments
and mock civilized law.
Heaven embraces the fool society will not suffer.
But there is no Heaven here.
The black birds tell me it is too soon.
I know this world will grind me to dust.
If there truly is Grace, I hope I keep my heart intact.
If I am to be destitute let there be a grand symphony of words.
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