I etched a blueprint of grief into a blade of grass and hid it in the belly of a whirlpool caught in the eye of a storm, wrapped in a granite grain of lightning. Standing at the edge of existence, battered by blue and white hail, I scrubbed the tears from under my nails, left behind everything but the diamonds on my knuckles, sharper than ever though dull from lack of care.
I thought of my mother, briefly, from a distance, trapped on a mattress in my hometown, which could be any town for a nomad who creates his own demons and tries desperately to leave them all behind. Great red elephants graze on shards of glass that grow on the plains littered behind me. Some beasts live forever. Some die a little more every day.
I blew softly into the stars and watched them worship the dread I hauled around with me, turned to the sun to see it sketch the outline of agony on the ease that surrounds me. Innumerable tremors shift the air covering every inch of the blind desolation I wrote on the back of a dung beetle on its way home from the war. Birds do not fly here.
I dug a pit in a cloud, deep but not wide, and lay down in the gathering rain. Coils of frost twisted up inside me, brawled with the ancient skunk who found no mate in the bowels of Vesuvius, and won. Countless times I asked the sire to tell me about the elephant and the mouse. There are no mice left, I learned in a blizzard made of crows. Some beasts live forever. Some die a little more each day.
Elle Warren is a failed intellectual with a penchant for pissing people off, but in an adorable way, like being stabbed with a Butterfinger. She’s doing the postdoc thing at Stellenbosch University while experimenting with all the forms of art her bipolar mood disorder happily inspires her to attempt. It’s not so bad when it’s good. Her work has been published in Itch and Poetry Potion and is forthcoming on Roekeloos and Litnet.
Image: Feeders, Elle Warren 2016