II. IMMOLATION

The Secret Passageway to the Treasure / Trey Ratcliff / http://www.stuckincustoms.com

It never leaves,
This hovering in the fire
Between two worlds.

Drugged by the pain,
I struggle between
Consciousness
And darkness.

I call out your name
Again and again
Until my throat is raw
And I lay prostrate, spent,
Mocked by the echo
Of my voice ringing
Through the endless caverns
Of time and space.

Where are you, My Belovéd?
Where have you gone?
Why is there nothing of you here
Except this fleeting miráge —
The sweetness of your touch,
Your tender lips’ caress,
The lightest, feather strokes
Of your fingertips upon my skin?

“It is real!” I argue, “It is real!”

It is agony!

How searing hot this grief!
As wave after wave of emotion
Pounds my frail, battered body
Lying helplessly upon the shore.

What is real? What is not?
Did I live in this Paradise
Seen so clearly in my mind’s eye,
Or is true reality this endless hell,
The nightmare from which I run?

O, God! How will I survive?
I don’t know where to go
Or what to do.
I cannot think,
I cannot focus,
Don’t know what is right
Or wrong, or sane.
Rational thought seems
Out of reach,
As everything comes in snatches,
Nothing clear, just jumbled, tumbling,
Constant moving, never-ending . . .

I doze, hovering once again.
I am not awake,
Nor am I asleep.
I have been flung
Deep within the Abyss.

I struggle to sit up,
Strength falters, then fails;
I collapse again.
I raise my tortured head
Then fall back in exhaustion.
I try to turn, but cannot move,
As pain flashes from head to toe,
Each attempt at movement
Filled with sorrow-laden moans.

How many days have I been here
In this dark, desolate,
God-forsaken, hell-hole
Where time has no meaning
And one day merges
Excruciatingly into the next.

Fitfully, I doze again,
Awakening to the ever-present
Pain and horror.
I call your name,
But you are not here.
Then I remember, . . .
You are gone,
Never to return.

Anguished screams accompany
My descent into the darkness,
The twilight sleep of grief.

Defiantly, I grasp my victory
In the fading light.
I have cheated this death
Which claims you,
My Belovéd, who I hold more dear
Than all the rest.
It cannot take you from me
For I have secreted you away
Where the Enemy cannot go.

I hold you in my heart,
I hear you on the wind,
I see your face upon the sky,
I feel your spirit in the morning sun,
Your arms enfold me in the evening’s dusk,
I feel your breath in the depth of night.

The waves of fire come once again.
Overcome, I sink into the darkness.
Hearing voices in the distance,
I awaken to the morning sun
Blocked by an opaque fog,
Only to sink into the darkness, yet again.
Over and over, day after day,
The cycle continues. Will it ever end?

Weeping with the morning,
I awake calling your name.
At night I fall in bed exhausted,
My body filled with grief-wracked sobs
As the darkness mercifully comes.
In my delirium, I wonder:
Did I live before this hell began?

– J. E. Clark / 7 December 2010

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