And So I Fled by Elyssa Tappero
Forgive me, darling. I could not return home that night. The walls had cherished the echo of your name; the windows had cradled the holy ghost of your reflection. That place had tasted you, your sweat and tears and precious copper blood, and found you to be good. With every step I took I would have walked in your wake, a funerary procession of one stirring the dust of unwanted memories. No, I am no longer welcome in those walls. I would have been a stranger trespassing in your empty tomb there, and so I fled. Forgive me.
Forgive me, angel. I could not hold vigil over your body that night. That place was a mausoleum of sterile silence and defeat; it had never known the caress of your silken voice, your laughter like a small, bright blade. No one there understood the magnitude of your loss and every pathetic platitude only served as reminder that I had been left behind. Alone. If I had remained in those stark white halls any longer, I would have laid down beside you on the cold marble to await our pyre. I too would have charred to fine ash, but I am ever the coward and so I fled. Forgive me.
Forgive me, beloved. I could not preserve myself that night. In the absence of your touch my flesh decayed and all the names with which you had blessed my hungry mouth rotted upon my tongue. Aching, I abandoned all memory of your fingertips upon my skin and let my nerves shrivel in atrophy. Grieving, I rejected the glory of your heartbeat pulsing against my lips and winter withered the surrendered core of me. I had no place in a failing body which only ever belonged to you, which only ever longed to be as you desired, and so I fled. Forgive me.
Elyssa Tappero is a queer pagan who writes fragments of prose and poetry about mental illness, the gods, the agony of writing, and how it feels to be alive for the end of the world (which is pretty not great) in hopes of touching others who might feel the same. She is honored to have been published by The Tide Rises and Stone of Madness Press. You can find more of her work at www.onlyfragments.com and follow her on Twitter at @OnlyFragments.