FIRST REAL TRUTH
by Natasha Bredle
Hardly had a face. Always
buried behind a book, crisp ivory pages, to me
the smell of heaven. But in the end, just a facade
for the mind roaming elsewhere,
that mysterious land of always and never,
over and under, until the time came
to crash back to Earth. And as I fell, reaching, grasping
for the lucent wings of angels,
a brush of holy, a stroke of peace.
In the clouds, my come-and-go home,
I wandered and danced until you struck me down.
I still recall how the setting sun’s glow
and the songbird’s lullaby ricocheted off your words
that evening, when you told me
the girl next door committed suicide.
I didn’t hear you. Wind whipping, scarring my ears
as I descended from my fabricated refuge.
So you said it again. The girl next door killed herself.
Your voice shattered the sky.
Clouds darkened and released a deluge of rain.
I ran to my room. No books,
no imaginary haven could shelter me now. My
weak heartbeat resounded: alone.
Alone in a dark world where my friends
couldn’t even be saved from themselves.
I hugged my knees to my chest. Rocked,
rivers of captive loneliness coursing the
unmapped curvatures of my face.
You came in. You sat beside me.
You pulled me close. Your whispers of comfort
fought the world’s madness and I knew
together we would do what it took
to move on.