“When we were young,
we shared our bread and milk”

 

   When we were young, we shared our bread and milk
Played games in the woods, chased the spirits there—
Caught a glimpse of something more, never scared
Were you, just laughed off the ghostly face
   Even when it appeared at your window
At night, and whispered secrets yet untold
What did it say to you in the darkness?
I always sat rapt, struck, when you spoke
   Of the depths of the encroaching forest
And how you saw another world inside
The reflection on the piano’s sheen
Just smiled as you fingered dainty tune.

   When we were teens, we never got too close
A hug or two, once a kiss — nothing more
But we never didn’t smile, best of friends
A boy, a girl, in love with the world
   But you always wanted more, spoke of things—
And when we wandered in the pouring rain
Your mind wandered to darkness, I knew so,
And I wondered what cold dreams you saw.
   We fell into our patterns with swift ease
And made those signs that only we did know,
I wanted to never see you depart—
But you were bruised, your eye red, swollen;
With stolen alcohol, you smoldered.

   It had been half-decade we didn’t speak:
I got out of town after you showed me
The room hid beneath the abandoned house
That lay quiet, unpleasant ’tween trees
   Skeletal and in constant winter grey—
You held my hand too tight, I remember
And something was wrong in your hazy sight.
I never knew I loved you before
   Then, the moment I knew I feared you much;
And after we went to mine and ate sweets,
And didn’t speak until you said goodbye
And left a shadow in dreadful wake.

   When I returned, it was on your request—
I found you at home, dilapidated
Plaster, pebble-dashed tomb where on the floor
Lay shrunken mess of erstwhile father.
   No longer woman, but dusk-changeling
So far from girl, Acheron followed you
With perverted grace of vindication:
I shivered to see your serpent smile,
   And wept when you told me what had to come;
Sweet childhood friend, dark empowered sorceress:
Shadows crawled upon your father’s dry corpse.
I watched man turned to messy chaos,
In hands of girl I once broke bread with.

   When you were young, you were stranger than life:
In cryptic patterns you danced fairy dance;
Snakelike smiles replaced that kind childish grin
As you stowed away your pain from me
   You hid the acrid scars and acid burns,
And listened close to whispering souls of which
Offered dark gifts of ancient sacraments
You uttered of, in hushed tones aside
   Gabbling crick in oaken glade we called home;
And you spoke to me what you meant to do,
One day, when the wind was rising eastward:
Comeuppance for your red swollen eye.

 

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