Cut from The Happiness to Sleep for length purposes.
I killed her – not with rope or gloves
But only with the things she loved.
No knife could cut her dancing days,
No violence shed her graceful ways
As trapping her in rotting flesh,
Unable to remember, or forget.
I made that frail, compassionate face
Into a mask, a haunted place
Where nothing lived, virtue nor sin,
Eyes duller than they’d ever been –
Glass spheres pressed into lumps of clay
That reflect, but can’t create.
I killed her – not with water or fire
But I pushed her until she tired
Of things that can’t be helped or changed
And tears that fell like summer rain.
I made her learn contempt and scorn,
I tied her down when I was born
And shut her in a lonely house
With windows looking in, not out.
More bitter grows each passing hour
The lady paces in her tower
Saying ‘When may I live again?
O Gods, I was so happy then!’
I killed her – my frail, immortal soul,
Behind blank eyes she’s growing cold.
In other lives, in other worlds,
She had been such a fearless girl.
We wielded magic, crowns and blades,
We would be still, if we had stayed,
A spirit of kindness, wisened by woe –
Now sick of shadows, we are a ghost.
My dumb, listless reflection, I
Am sorry I brought you here to cry.
I pray the gods you safely keep
Until on stone we wake from sleep.
– Amara Lynn Layton
October 19, 2005