"A Tree's Promise" by Chris Jones
A single silver braid sweeping an apron of sweat on cowhide and a grin of knowing with a fast grasp of mead.
Unwilling host of Seraphim piling gas on glowing stone and conjuring spirits in the long cold den of Hephaestus,
she called herself a witch. But I knew her dreams and not having children encased her in a sweet grief
that bubbled tears on tight steel bands around ever bending strands of her memory and spill.
As Man wife to Vic, her forgiveness for lying with a whore wasn’t a choice for one who could read cards
and people while she led them into her cottage to cook a careful meal, crafting an infusion of spirit and courage.
No escape or surrender for me staring at the worn face of a smith’s hammer
in the back of Vulcan’s truck while yellow and cracked tapes of Dead Can Dance reeled in my ears
tracing bright eels of fire dripping down my back burning me into a future that would turn my scars into songs.
Peeling me to the core of all that I thought and trembled to see masks on fire right at my feet I would never perceive her hard and burnt offerings as packets of pluck veiled in a dark sea.
Soaking in the unknown greet of a torn and leveled angst, a cottonwood tree revealed itself to me whispering promise and pact
and to not look back.