Beyond the Thorns

She sat looking at the roses, memories trembling like a reflection in water beneath the surface of their burgundy petals.
Teeth flashing as laughter bubbled up from joyful souls, rosy cheeks ruddy from working under a sweating sun. She stared at the green leaves pressing down against their stems in the wind, and the breeze brought the scent of growing things. She felt a twinge deep inside as a memory of two people talking jarred inside her, the scent of nature thronging around them as they sat and looked at the hills. He had leaned toward her when she spoke of her love of the outdoors, and smiled like the world was his when she laughed at his words.
Another memory rudely clashed with this fond embrace of the past, sending ice trickling into her stomach.
Blood. A cold storm of tears and anger. The empty feeling inside her grew as she stared at the roses, as they mocked her with ghosts of the past.
His eyes had glittered when he asked her, roses in hand, to wait for him. To wait until after he returned from the trip, from his mission to save the world. She sighed. He always had loved superheroes in their valiant comic books.
He always had loved reading them next to her while she studied, and sometimes she’d glance over at him and relish the awe in his eyes, the excitement, the anguish.
The anguish that paralleled so beautifully now this echoing void that was consuming her from the inside.
He used to catch her looking sometimes, and smile crookedly, and tell her he loved her eyes. And she’d bat him away and beam into her hands and try not to feel sick from the butterflies squirming in her stomach.
The roses nodded their heads at her, sympathizing. They weaved sadly, like they knew, like they could possibly understand.
Granite slabs flashed in her mind. Cold stone and empty shades of black. She was unaware of how cold it was, of the icy dew on the grass around her. Her eyes stared unseeing at the flower bush. Her mind had commandeered her vision, spinning memories in front of her eyes like a black parade of pain.
Meaningless words from friends and family formed in blurry, pale faces. Tears of agony shared with his mother as they wept for what had been lost. A smooth oak coffin carved with a simple rose on the top.

Her eyes clicked back to reality with the engraved rose emblem hovering in her mind. She stared at the flowers, their petals so graceful, so perfect. Something snapped inside.
The girl began to feel again as pain swept in and threatened to consume her.
She screamed, with agony, with this raw pain, and her cold fingers tore at the roses. No thought was given to what she was doing. Pure rage fed her hatred for those picturesque flowers. She ripped them from their stems, shredded their petals, snatched at them in random spasms of anger as torturous pain surged through her veins in the guise of strength. As suddenly as it had come, the strength vanished, and left behind only a warm, teary feeling behind her eyes. Her lips twitched. She stared in silence at the tips of thorns in her flesh, at the ragged green swathes in her palms. Dark blood seeped under the cuts, trying to fight its way out from under the torn barriers.
She stared at her hands and cried.
The empty feeling inside morphed into a sharp, bitter longing that clawed at her being. She wanted him back. She wanted him back more than anything. Agony tore into her soul and she sobbed against the pain. She fell sideways and hugged her arms, smearing blood, wanting him there to hold her instead. She cried for a long time – until the empty feeling receded into a dull ache.
She stared sideways at the remnants of the roses, lilting brokenly in the increasing breeze. Breath faded in and out of her lungs. One stem was snapped with its rose hanging limply askew.
As she stared at it, her mind empty, the rose fell. It fell beyond her sight into the dirt below. But where it had been swinging, where her eyes had been fixed; the branches beyond this spot were adorned with a swelling bud. Green, growing. It had been late to bloom – burgundy petals still closed up tight in a little packet of promise. She stared.
The girl drew herself up, eyes wide, staring at the bud. It swayed with the wind. Somehow it had survived her enraged tirade.
She held out dirty fingers to touch it, expectant, afraid. It was rough with texture and soft with hope.
The pain inside her curbed into a bittersweet knowledge. He was gone. He was gone for now.
He had been her perfect other half, her best friend, the one she wanted to be with in this life. And they had enjoyed many years together, of friendship, of promise.
He was gone now.
Gone, but that didn’t mean she wouldn’t see him again.
She stared at the bud.
New life, she thought. New. New beginning. Eternal hope.
And she stood. With her mind struggling to accept a future without him and her heart thankful for a King to show her the way.
“You understand more than anyone, don’t you?” She choked out, raggedly whispering to the sky. The very God who had crafted her, the one who had given her this boy in the first place, the one who had blessed her over and over again – this very same God had built this rose bush from nothing. He knew the bud inside and out. He knew when it needed to be there to be seen by her grieving eyes, and he knew to let it be late to bloom. Not only this did he know, but he knew the world and all its agonies. He KNEW. His very own son had walked in this world of darkness and hung from a ragged cross with thorns in his own flesh. He knew the pain. And he wouldn’t leave her alone to suffer in it.
Even if she tore herself apart in grief, he’d always plant new hope in her life. He would always walk alongside and strengthen her in the dark, pull the thorns from her flesh, brush her off and tell her quietly to keep going. When her own strength was fleeting, he would carry her. The pain would bloom into a new testimony, into new hope, into something necessary to show the world His grace. It was never the end.
Only new beginnings.

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The Farming Sky

Bending mats of twigs and trees
branches woven in flutt’ring green
The forests reach with hopeful arms
to touch the gleaming flesh of stars.

The moon takes pity on a lonely path
its aching heart lit up at last.
The skies are thrown as endless fields
as wheaty stars wave on midnight teal.

A million breaths coalesce to form
a single glimpse of light in the storm.
The writhing giants of flame and light
sputter their lives to star the night.

The forest waits in agony
to test the limits of its reach.
It stretches further to caress the sky
as the starlit heavens flow sparkling by.

Handsome

I like

Hair in its curls and twists

And thin faces

With eyes accentuated by beautiful lips.

 

High cheek bones

And sharp jaw lines

And thin fingers and long toes

Or so I thought.

 

Because I met you

And your hair is straight

And your face is not sculpted like mine.

 

Just like mine, though

Your fingers are thick.

Calloused from working

And perfect for holding.

 

I do not know why

Everything I professed to like

No longer matters

 

Because your face is my favorite

I light up with your eyes

I did not know how much I loved

The way eyes crinkle when the soul is full of joy

But then I finally met you

And you rewrote what I knew.

Reclaimed

It just hit me like a tidal wave, what you’ve done for me
The presence of the greatest king has washed all my pain clean

Bestowed with sin for DNA,
My fate was doomed and broken.
Corrupted veins and bones like blades,
Gave me voice for things unspoken.

Not once but thrice my course was altered,
My passage back from death reclaimed.
The spent feel of my blood unflowing
Became once more the life I craved.

He wept and died and broke and hung
The scars he bore despite his throne
The mourning tunes the earth had sung
As Jesus perished – then rose, called home.

Mirror Image (a sonnet)

 

A cross betwixt flame and earth doth reside

In the shining fury of mortals’ eyes.

Behold that which doth destroy so much

With simple reflections, a ghostly touch.

 

Laughter ceases upon it, a thoughtful examination,

The opposite of introspection, gateway to damnation.

With growing lies and shrieking cries we tear into deceit,

Clawing flesh to look our best, with eyes wrought of temptation.

 

With gaping soul-wounds and ill, empty eyes,

Now cold ivory smiles assault us.

Our fixtures on phony are now our demise,

As our perfect bones crumble to dust.

We thought this was life, and nothing was left,

But all we orchestrated was death.

 

Recycled Minds

Beyond the bend of mortal sense,

A world awaits with baited breath.

Discovered in shards of brilliance,

Broken by reality’s hindrance.

 

To flow beyond the realm of real,

Toward colors to hear and scents to feel.

To breathe in the shock of what is to come,

Built by others, discovered by some.

 

To find what sleeps in swathes of thought,

Where dreams become solid at once they are sought.

A realm of disputed physics and laws,

Where complexity’s fodder and simple is awe.

 

And of this realm of torturous perfection,

Unlimited creation, unhindered invention,

A wicked guard sits at the throne of it all,

Reality, ensuring that some dreams fall.

 

Beyond his gaping chasm-like eyes,

Defiance sits cross-legged at his demise.

Declaring the freedom of an illness-rid world,

To be found in the light of our own shadowy realm.

 

To be found in the death of Death’s slayer, you know.

Of Elements in a Deeper Sense

Fire & darkness, water & light,

The betrayal of flames to the sure-sleeping night.

What face flows like a shadow, in the shade of rippling trees,

as the river is forgotten and the world knows unease?

 

Read the flames and flickering sparks.

The smoking coals and watery hearth.

See the elusive colors flare,

Of water, earth, flame and air.

 

What comes when elements’ designs,

Become one in a clap of light?

And all we know beyond the fire,

Becomes unbearably dark and bright?

 

To hold to the shadows where flames once thrived,

To breathe in the insistence of unbroken night.

Fighting back terror and seeking respite –

Look, the Light! We’ve been found by it.