Cradle - Anis Mojgani

Set the warriors to sea in a ship stacked with shields, layers of swords, mountains of gold. Lay them out with their wife. With their child. Lay them out with their livestock, with the whole farm. The rain is not coming here. Not today. For today the gods welcome one of their own back home. So set the hero out on the soft waves that will carry him to the other side of the pink ether where he will float on fire until the ash consumes him like the mighty warrior he once was and like the legend he will become. The flames will dance over his possessions, his goblets and arrows, his blankets, his paintings, his passions. The flames will dance across his flesh like the soft fingers of the soft lover he left, and as he sleeps this last sleep, the fires will eat him away, the heat will write his skin across the night sky to join the constellations that will guide the sailors at storm, the herders lost in the clouds, they will all come home by facing the direction his eyes are facing. The heavens are filled with smoke. This is history this is legend this is what we once were. Where the stories come from, what we are. When you fall in battle, they will take your body with the life you made in this world and set it off to sail behind you into the next, so that you will stay a king, remain forever the golden being you breathed as on this side of the mountain. When you pass, may your life follow you like a shadow into the light. When I go, bury me with nothing but my own skin. I spent far too many days trying to outrun this thing called mine, so if I set myself into your arms would you hold me like the earth, quietly? I am yours. Give me a field, give me a big sky. A mountain. Give me your mouth. I’m just looking for a quiet place that I could die inside of.

from Rattle #27, Summer 2007
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