Lady of the Lake
by Elise Anna MatthesenBody of water
Body of work
"A body of collected knowledge about the therapeutic properties of any substance used for healing"
Call it a healing ritual Or a mercy fuck, whichever you like. Corporal act of mercy — that sounds nice It was on an afternoon woven of equal parts Sunlight, aimlessness and proscribed botanicals A young hero in need As they often are, Of a body of collected knowledge A body of work Where the sun came in I was gilded Where the shadows fell he was oak leaf and ivory A cascade of glossy black down his back Where the fire inside touched us both We were molten copper A burning ship St. Elmo's fire wreathing the mast Climbing along the rigging Reflections like flaming coins scattered On frantic waves Ocean? No. Not ocean. I was a lake, I have always been a lake Quiet, Until some idiot threw a sword in me. There's always some idiot with a sword. How's a natural phenomenon to have any peace With people always mucking about making an omen of one Requiring auguries, questing after this vision, that revelation Or simply demanding that one reveal or conceal the artifact of the week? My sister's a cenote. What's thrown down her, vanishes. Cold jade waters. Colder silence within. I am more temperate, if no warmer. I prefer the give and take Though it means my contemplations will be disturbed from time to time By this one making a deposit And the other one drawing something forth A regular lending library, some centuries. The sword was hot, newforged Or so I recall. There was, as always, enough and more To quench the burning brand, temper the steel I think, from time to time, this annoys some of them The sheer inexhaustibility Of a body of water, a body of work, a body of collected knowledge As if it were somehow a reflection on them. No matter. The sword went in. As I recall, I gave it away again later. My old lover the witch in her tower Used to tease me Call me a plaguey thing for giving her gifts away again Roses cast up on shore, Bits of ribbon for the ravens to carry off Hey, offerings come and offerings go. Collect knowledge. Disburse. The sword stayed for a while. The hero died. They do, you know. It's generally part of the tale Though people may not always want to hear it. Swords outlast them as a rule. Lakes outlast swords. There were currents cold within me Green weeds wreathed my heart As I took in the sword, drew it down The word "fathom" was not made to describe What was in my young hero's eyes They widened as he felt the water close over him I was still too much lake To tell him that he was a hero That heroes die. My silence disturbed him More than he had disturbed mine But the waves we made together Rocked him to peacefulness Or exhaustion. A body of work, whatever else it is, is just that. Work. We came back to ourselves In that room of dust and oakleaves. The shadows were longer. We had come very far. What water was left spilled down my cheeks. Struck dumb as any oracle, I held him, And with what little kindness I had left Carefully told him nothing but stories of swords.
Elise Anna Matthesen — beads, metal, songs, stories, poetry, and whatnot. Walks with a cane; walks toward delight. Hard of hearing; reads lips. Into sentence fragments. Seeks meaningful collaboration with verbs. Preferably over sushi. Elise says her favourite fruit "would be ground cherries, but they're probably actually a vegetable."
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