Once, kissing was me, and hearts beat faster beneath my hands.
Once, dreaming was me, and the most secret worlds unveiled themselves before my eyes.
Then, the slow darkening came and brought with it mistresses of the quick claw and deafening beauty.
Walking became the law, and now I'm the rogue.
Kissing became the projectiles, and now I'm the battered wall.
Dreaming became the magician, and now I'm cut in half.
When walking was me, laughing was what held up dragonflies.
Growing was what children did while their parents weren't looking.
Dogs also laughed, and so did my oak tree; and even Green Herself
Let a smile cross Her face when walking through the forest
When kissing the backs of hands was my garden gate
And kissing skinned knees was my embrace,
Names were given for playful goosebumps,
Crowns were lowered over the smooth foreheads of quiet mornings,
And the color that can only be seen in an emerald held by candlelight
Somehow found its way into Her eyes when kissing warm shoulders
When dreaming won trials by ordeal was my classroom window
And dreaming lost in the forbidden desert was my morning ride,
Whole weeks of Summer were swallowed by tadpoles in the park.
Eyes blinked in the sky above campfires, and meadows danced, and caverns spoke in French;
And even that wise, old river tiptoed at the wedding of Green and Her Summer
While walking the primrose path held the ring,
Kissing the bride held the breath of the guests,
And dreaming happily ever after carried her over the threshold
Very like the tide's undertow came the slow darkness.
The todash, the beast waiting beside the scales, last and lasting.
He made me smile at first, as questions often do.
He made Her turn away, though, and Her Summer winds blue.
It wasn't until Her tears cried out their own memory of pain
That I realized the darkness was dreaming before it was me.
Before the world's spine was crossed by the walking,
And before the kissing had learned how to sing,
She had known the touch of the dreaming, for it had bewitched Her.
The King of Broken Mirrors, whose name meant to steal.
The frost on the blade that burned Her wrist.
The stone held in the right hand of God.
Summer fled, and, screaming, She followed.
Walking became the distant horizon
Where kissing drew up and leaped;
The wedding guests fell from the trees and turned to dust before their color could change;
Then dreaming peeled away from my skin as if flayed by a scythe
And returned to the back of the hypnotist.
So the darkness showed his true self.
Walking is never an infant, nor a crone without jewels.
Kissing is always a poet, or at least the drunken memory of one.
But dreaming is whoever it wishes to be, and has no shame or scruple.
Once, dreaming was me, and Happiness lived in my arms for a day and a night.
Green was Her eyes, Her voice, and Her name.
Once, dreaming was walking was kissing was me,
And I thought the three were the same;
But dreaming is everyone is no one is nothing
But he who pulls down the veil
To blind himself in the full light of Summer
So he won't see that he only lives
In the slow darkness.