The drum is beating low
but constant like Leviathon’s heart
far up in the moonless basin
filled with the ocean of night.
The flame flares with the ghosts of grasses
born on the banshee’s wind.
The bent man circles in his animal mask
rustling soft the rattle of bone.
In this black of smoke and flicker
his chant is a shine, his words
a lintel of stars for the doorway
of morning, each an arrow let fly
unerringly down the path to my tears.
Wounds unhealed, wounds unknown
open and close
like speaking mouths
with tongues of silk.
I’m undone for the ritual
more than naked
brindled with shadow
wings spread like Isis
to fall instead, only
Psyche’s origami moth, feathered
on his palm till
night’s next whisper.
I reach my hand
to the mask, where it rubs
the skin raw.
The drum is silent.
Image: Figure de pleureuse, Musée du Louvre
18th Dynasty Terracotta sculpture; thought to be Isis mourning Osiris