There is a rope around my neck and it is pulling
tighter and tighter until I can finally breathe
past the stones that have rolled up from my belly
and coated the surface of my tongue with something
that resembles fear.

I am running, further and further away
from a sun that would cast light on my shadows
and reveal me to be nothing but smoke and whispers,
curling slowly about a hollowed skull, seeking shelter
in the labyrinth.

Here it is dark and here it is quiet,
against the steady hum of bloodstained walls
that hold me close, almost affectionate,
and draw me deep into the lonely warmth
of an ancient misunderstood beast.

Littered on this well-worn path:
Old bones sunk deep into grief-stained soil,
scrap wings forged of empty courage,
deserted in the realization that they could not help
but bend in the heat of a world on fire.

Should I find that beast at the end of the labyrinth,
I pray it would rip open my belly with its claws.
As the stones roll out one by one,
I imagine they will create a path out of this maze
for someone braver than I to follow.

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