From the cave I walked into the darkness
I once called day, and gagged upon the smells.
My sisters wore the ashes of distress;
I loosened my shroud and poor Marta fell.
I despaired to find myself back in hell.
Some error had returned me to the world
of dull-eyed beasts, of shit and dust and filth.
I had not missed them once, those wailing girls.
And then I saw the one they call The Pearl,
saw in his eyes he knew what he had done.
He unbound me—our single grief unfurled—
But offered me no succor; there was none.
I cried out for the starlit place I’d been.
This is your cross, he said. To live again.
Like a cooling pot returned to the hearth,
My bones began once more to simmer.
I felt the pain again, though now less sharp
And kept my eyes shut, to not lose the glimmer
Of where I’d just been, its whirl and shimmer.
But it melted like the moon into dawn,
Replaced by a voice that I remembered
As the one I’d followed back here. I yawned;
My mother gasped. My spirit fought the one
Who held the kite-string of my soul and pulled.
He said a bit of broth would hold me down.
I tried to say I was already full.
Now Mother sews and says I’ll marry
And forget, in time, that place I tarried.
by E. D. Watson