Report From Several Time Frames

       Let’s ditch the pastoral and pretty language.
It’s Hell, remember? And not the dark caves, the smoky

       way, the deep on deep that might be lit
with torches made of flowers.

       Hell. Of her own making, sure, but where
does that get us? Should we judge her? Turn

       away with our disdain, our superiority?
You’ve never been there? Hell?

       Chances are you didn’t go willingly,
not even in search of your beloved dead.

       Because let’s face it, the myths are always prettier
than the real thing. The dead wandering the quiet

       groves, the living trying to speak to them,
trying to embrace them, and each time

       ending up with nothing in their arms but air.
It’s enough to make you believe in irony,

       something discouraged these days since it’s been
so overused, so relied on, so sure a fallback

       position. Whereas she’s in Hell, she’s trying to find
the exit without making outlandish promises to God,

       to the gods, to whoever
will listen through the rush of smoke and dark, to do

       anything, anything, if she could just have all she’s lost
back, for an hour, a day, a week—upping the ante

       as she pleads since an hour won’t do, what
could she say in an hour, how could she make

       amends or atone in so little time—oh, she’s exhausted.
It’s the same old story. Study snow or nothingness

       a while and see what you come up with, what
you would say if your life depended on it.

Lynne Knight | Recurrent Iris
Mudlark Contents | Mudlark Chap No. 66 (2018)