The Art of Courage
You will journey into the Challenge Lands
with a wishbone sword bound with harp strings.
They will be waiting…
You will dance the slow yoga of cherry blossom tattoos.
Fending off knee jerk war cries with a parry of lotus petals
They will throw deafening earthquakes at you.
Stretch you across a rack of hemorrhaged twilight
as they carve away the horizon. Raw. Trembling.
You will fall. And you will fall.
And you will struggle to rise before you fall again.
They will see this and call you a beacon of sin.
Worse than cancer, leeching away their vitality.
A tumor on their essence.
A plague upon their young.
They will flay you with time’s scathing whip.
Grind your empathy into poison needles.
Implant them. Craft your skin into an ambush
Leave you untouchable.
They will feed you loneliness,
but you will keep your voice
in your left pocket, where it can’t be stolen.
And you’ll sing to them...
The golden underside of sequoia branches.
Magpies between the rafters at dusk.
The song of the last kite flying without strings.
They will drown you in gunfire.
Hollow concrete beds with your shackled silhouette,
and wail crimson razors as you turn it into music.
They will exhaust their tortures on you.
And when they can do nothing more,
they will finally send you home.
When you return, I will meet you halfway.
They will follow you.
Nineteen paces behind, eyes lowered.
Begging for mercy.