The Candlemaker – Lois E. Linkens and Eric Syrdal

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Shifting, ragged cloth
A funerary shrouded sound
Her footfalls bring dust
Hard and grey
From the cemetery ridge

Cheeks, streaked in salt
A patchwork of wrinkles
Her breath in grieving gasp
Dry and thin
Smell of evening invades

Fingers, knuckle bone dregs
Sepulchral grime under nails
Tangle and cling to life
Tremble and shake
All for the want of an offering

 

Back home, the blood has pooled
And the sheets are soaked.
Raspberry leaf, fenugreek
Linger on his jacket furs.

His boots take him –
The priest with his sad, kind eyes
And black book
Await. A cold blue face, like dough.
Purple lips and running nose.
That was bottled Hope.

Better fetch it, to be sure. Fetch the Light.

And by its amber glow,
The last gold leaf of autumn,
Lift cold palms to the unknown morning.
Frankincense, to ease the needless scars,
Oily hands shine in the soft light.

 

To wander
Beyond the light of this world
That is his fate
Now
In lighting for him
This tiny beacon
She sets him on a path
She cannot follow

To guide his shade
Down the narrow path
Between worlds
Lined with broken shale
And scrub-lillies
And the whispered shadows
Of winged things
And many faced gods

Mayhaps her voice
Will pierce the veil
On the nights
Of All Hollow’s Eve
And his pale spirit
Will fix its eyes
Upon the mortal fabric
This light will be an anchor

 

These moonbeam threads
Are dull on the shelf. ‘Tis hours,
And blistered hands, and business
And yet ‘tis hardly work.

Lined up, soft white soldiers.

That flick’ring death (slow and hot and red)
Gives solace
In a quiet, empty place.

 

In the space of time
from wick to end
count the hours
until the dawn
and never shall it be
longer than the space
of a single heartbeat
for the one who stands
fist over heart
staring into
the frozen earth
that now holds a
beloved

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