[Issue 1 / May 2012]

Bareback Alchemy by Melissa Studdard

Bring on the cold.

I’m going to meet this life

without gloves or scarves or boots

and ride bareback through the cobbled

streets of time, howling incantations

into the mist and threading mystery

through the folds of day. Let the ticking

minutes land where they may:

I point my heart at an uncharted

path, lift from the earth,

trot on the wind. No Nostradamus

could predict the intricate

twists and turns this horse will take

down alleys and through storms,

shaking its magical tail,

its righteous mane,

clopping the cobblestone

and trying, trying like hell

to buck me off. Let it

snow and sleet. I’ve got no fur

coat to meet winter with this year,

just a raw and broken heart

and the waterfalls in my chest

where my lungs should be.

So go ahead. Bring it on: cold

and heat, hurricanes, tornadoes, quakes.

I’ve got the freedom of the dispossessed,

that fire in my throat,

the lick of truth,

and I’ll sing it loud

because I wear

the philosopher’s stone

like a smile, don a raven

on my shoulder, sport the alchemy

to transform my demons into gods.

*

www.melissastuddard.com

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