These three poems by Gabrielle Brant Freeman consider the moment one realizes they no longer need to journey through life as if walking on eggshells…
by: Gabrielle Brant Freeman
Desolate 3:15am I stand under a sky thick with mist, the eclipse just moonglow like ribbon recalling water, shooting the curl of horizon. Recalling the night our bodies silvered under this same moon, gilded lovers, cups and curves, vaulted hollows, and again the nights of starfire on your face, on your fingers plucking strings, and again the night I missed the meteor streak because my cheek had found the warm valley in your back and wanted to stay. 3:30am My app shows the Moon, great shining thing, and, to its right, Cetus, steep dive into the Sea. Whale skin slick. It wills the stars into its wake. It turns, mouth wide to gather all the light it can before the breach. I take off my shirt, wrench it up and over my head, plunge in. 4:05am I have closed my eyes, pushed my feet deep into the dark covers, turning them under, pulled the firm pillow flush against my back to mimic your chest. You text. Of course it’s you, water-bearer, fixing this eclipse between us like a thin suture. You write, The clouds will clear for you, too.
Danger, Illustrated It’s the difference between bringing light and making light, luciferous and illustrious. I call these men Lucifer, angel and devil, illustrate them on blank pages. I keep falling for them, taking their danger and twisting it into my skin, my own chosen cilice, men mortify. Am I in denial? I twist old poems into firestarters, pain enflamed, immolation. It’s the difference between making life and giving life, this child, flesh of my flesh, formed inside my body, fed off my milk, my blood. This sacrifice. A mother offers herself on the stone altar, sliver of obsidian in her fist, ready to slice a breast to draw her sword. These men, alive but not living, sacrifice their time but not their bodies. It’s the difference between bringing danger and making danger. Let me illustrate: you take control, I give it up.
Once More Become the Goddess This time, it’s a full flower blood moon, ecstatic eclipse. Your ego says you are the sun, forsaken, my love a chasm into which your light falls. You ask for my milk, creep into my house at night. Become the alchemist, transmute my precious heart, shining gold to lead tool. The muscles in your back like a dowsing rod, I hold on and hope for water. It takes grit, swell and rise, to transcend, to move from seed to bloom, direct root to warm and wet, push sprout to gap, spin stalk and vine to eat the light, alchemical chlorophyll, uncoil the spiral, snake up through brush, twist and writhe. You say one day we will see the Pacific together, your skin under my tongue turns salt. You say this year is just a shadow we will walk out of, just a snarl requiring just a little more restraint. You build eloquent knots, tether my attention, tighten the ropes, slither around wrists until I am the sinuous labyrinth ringed in promise, fathomless Lethe. Each time I neglect to remember, you leave, block me out, brick me in, hermetic heretic. I thought I was free. Abysmal elixir, our love is illusion, sleight of hand, apparatus you manage and abandon, wrap in anarchy. You shed your skin only to slap it back on when faced with your reflection. I am what you want to be. Faced with the abyss, you gather points to order. In this immeasurable space, you gift me the Moon to prove your alchemy, how enlightenment isolates you, how tides do not bridle you, to prove you are in control. To prove your rebirth, resurrection, the sun. How bright you would shine if I would just get out of your way. So I do. I see now. You create chaos to control, call it love. A mask is a poor panacea, venomous veil. I rise from the depths, divined. I eclipse everything around me.
Gabrielle Brant Freeman’s award winning and Pushcart nominated poetry has been published in many journals, including Barrelhouse, The Rumpus, One, and Scoundrel Time. Press 53 published her book, When She Was Bad. In 2021, Gabrielle’s poetry was included in the creation of the choreopoem A Chorus Within Her performed in Washington, DC. She lives in Eastern North Carolina with her family.