Endangered Afternoons

These endangered afternoons hang
like eggshells, suspended from a sky bleached by
its own wind, the way a desert seems like its own fault.
These afternoons are a different kind of barren,
pierced by spindly fingers of trees,
half-cracked by wasted plans, fading indistinctly
into the extinction of a deep and perilous evening.
Were these the longed-for afternoons I sought
when, drunk on the bee-sting venom of a sweltering afternoon,
alone in the jungle of my discontent,
I swore to another bleached-through sky
I would only ever love the winter?

Had I known then what I know now, would I have
been so eager to cast off the beaded arms
of friendlier warmth – not tensed so soon
or so fully, and learned to love the scent of a morning,
and learned the language of insects as they
spun their symphonies above my head?
Or would it have mattered to a girl
too young to be built on, fragile in extremity,
hardened by fear, unwillingly tanned –
was it that she was always unable to appreciate
the curve of a mountain hung with the scorched fruit
of a season? Am I still so illiterate – willfully so –
that the language of afternoons yet leaves me
so mutely terrified of time?

The afternoon is dying, but
I bear the curse of still being young,
earning still the bone antiquities that plague a soul
slowly brittling,
slowly shaved to sharpness –
must this be the way I grow old?

©K Paige Medina 1 December 2017

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Stone

I dreamed once of a little child
Whose name was that of stone,
And for all I’ve ever felt alive
That child has felt alone.
We’ve wandered long, two specters twinned
Up to the gates of hell,
But for all our silent, ghostly looks,
I could never really tell
If that child followed in my wake,
A lonely phantom saint,
Or whether it was I who trailed,
Sullen, bruised,
likely to faint.

I get the feeling he has walked
Much farther yet than I,
Yet wander on I know he must —
Little longing yet to die.
So let us go then he and I
Into that depth of place
That stops as suddenly as a fall
In his ghastly childish face.

©K Paige Medina 28 June 2017

The Breach

I fell asleep in no-man’s-land,
With flower petals in my hand.
Above my head an orange sky
Blows angels’ flight paths all awry.
We fell in love like dreamers do,
with sound and fury and ado.
We pinned ourselves to each other’s breast
And let the world do the rest.
We held our hands with spiky smiles—
Secrets, intrigue, lovers’ wiles—
Our paths were bound to wander down
Into each wasted bitter town,
And crest again those wanton shores,
And leave us always wanting more.
Alone I sleep, till some long hour
When I’ll restore this broken flower
Once more to that dear breach I sought
To lose once more the battles fought.

© K Paige Medina 9/5/2016

The Runners

There go the runners,
Taut limbs in motion like
Spiders’ legs
Panting with life,
Carrying with them
Eyes a hundred years old and still
Moving like lizards
Through the red streets of home.

Hear them running
Up from the wells and rivers
From the desolate schools,
Feet flying
Aflame
With the royalty of their
Own insignificance,

My god
Have you ever seen anything so beautiful?

Mouths open,
Cawing,
Speaking the language of youth
Of mischief,
Of secrets

Theirs is the movement
Of limitlessness,
The rhythmic language of
Running;
Theirs the power of knowing
And not accepting
Defeat.

©K Paige Medina 9/3/2016

Questions

Were we destined to become our mothers?
Can we fight the chill of night?
Can we sing the songs of summertime,
Can we set the world alight?
Are we merely younger burdens
Meant to rock our worlds undone,
Are we sleepless and eternal,
Were we really born to run?
Does the lightning ever scare you
As it burns bright and is gone,
Or do you take quiet comfort
In the way it’s like the sun?

We’ve never had the answers,
But we aren’t afraid of night.
We’ll stand in darkness knowing
If we’re patient, we’ll see light.

[4/28/16]