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From the House at the End of the World (1 Viewer)

Darkkin

WF Veterans
From the House at the End of the World

There is a house at a place where the world falls away,
a bluff, perhaps a cliff, edges tumbling, crumbling down—
to lakes, rivers, maybe a bay—to water, is all they say.

The house, weathered and watchful, peers from a wood.
There in the lee of the world, it calls its family home—
Each night, banging doors proclaim: All is well and good!

But this night, something is awry and a breeze just right…
The air, heavy and cloying as a still, tepid bath—
Away from the house, a waif drifting in the muted light.

Ahead, freshly laundered muslin, bleached driftwood white,
bounces on the line, tugging, snapping—reaching out—
to tickle, never bite—Laughter echoes, clear and bright.

Following a worn rut through the sere fescue grass,
a shallow tin basin balanced between small hands,
a child, wiry and quick, with a walk smooth as glass.

Clinging rays of the day’s golden light reach out,
flickering across the contents of the tin basin.
Colours ripple, mimicking the scales of a trout.

As the path curves, the swaying grasses close in.
A head, bobbing lightly, passes in and out of sight.
And it here, with this child, the story truly begins—

Emerging from the fescues, muslin clouding the sky,
the waif pauses, peering back just to make sure—
No one following, calling…A summer twilight nigh.

Alone in the shadows of the wood’s cobalt gloom,
she glances at the sky, a dome of endless molten gold.
Time suspended, she waits, watching fresh stars bloom.

Wren coloured curls, a coronet short as a pixie’s bristle,
glints with rare traces of fire, clear to the discerning eye—
Unseen by the waif as she gathers the down of a thistle.

Scrawny and knobbled, all elbows and grazed knees,
she moved with odd liquid grace, a grace seldom seen—
Each motion a dance, there in the peace of the trees.

Mercurial, a flaw of both her temper and form.
But for now that temper is even, soothed and cool—
A lull, deep and speaking, before a coming storm.


In a Cloak of Shivers

With the wings of the thistle gathered, she stills,
hears the hymn of the pines, the prayer of a lark—
The snap of sheets in a furious battle of wills.

The air is alive, churning, a symphony released.
The time is right, the light limned, yet bright—
A luscious, rough wind blowing from the East.

From the pockets of her pinafore, the cotton aged,
she pulls a conch shell and an empty canning jar,
in goes the thistledown and a tattered old page.

Away from the light, face lifting to the East Wind,
back exposed to the darkness of the boreal wood,
she felt it, an impossible thing, tracing along her skin.

Shivers, cloaked her, kissing knees to neck to nose.
From the fescues something glinted golden bright.
About the waif a tide of quicksilver rose...

The Cloak of Shivers, such an impossible thing...
Breath bated, she waited...Watching the sky...
And heard it, the rustle of delicate paper wings.

Sea blue eyes alight, she tied on the shining cape,
drew up the hood, knelt beside the basin of tin,
and set to work, hoping to make good her escape.

In a blink's span, it landed in front of the waif,
the second impossible thing, drawn by the first.
Nimox, a crane made of paper, fluff and faith.

With the blue of her eyes fading to deepest black,
she bowed to the crane, her decision made.
From the wood branches began to rustle—crack!

Pouring the soapy fluid from its tin basin to the jar,
she pulled out a wand of willow, hooped and waxed,
and made a final, frantic wish on the bright Fox Star.

Deftly thin fingers delved back into the faded cotton,
drawing forth a string of pearls, the days of her years,
the memories of times long gone, things best forgotten.

Wand shoved into the jar, jar into the pocket—
String of pearls to the brass rings of Nimox, affixed—
Nimox leaping—waif, her arm screaming in its socket.

Into the air, breaking away, the harpy’s voice roaring: Phi!
Phi holding tight, a bubble forming with the blowing East.
Swallowed by a bubble, drawn by a crane—Phi broken free.
 
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