The royal robes of winter’s night tightly bind me
in its blue-black grip; and shadow of majestic mountains
kneel on the banks of frozen rivers, its cracked ice,
like braided lace hemming the barren valley floors.
An amber moon spills bitter glow through naked branches
like brittle fingers clutching a button-less cloak.
Icy winds whip swirls of fog across lifeless lakes,
and on broken wings doves fall from a voiceless sky.
In a distant village, old ladies warble lullabies
to their dying husbands; soft verse cutting like
jagged blades through thick cherry smoke,
bleeding from pipes clenched in broken teeth.
The children, with bellies as round as their joyless
eyes, feed upon fermented peaches and dance
on knitted bones, playing hide and please, don’t seek.
I have walked a lifetime to return to this, my kingdom,
stretching as far as the blind eye can see.
My head is crowned in a spray of dying stars
as my spirit is drowned in muted prayer.
My hobbled feet were cut upon jagged stones –
This is my doomed destiny; my home made in hell.