audrey dimola[art for the wild]

two wolves. deux

Posted on: November 19, 2016

i didn’t know when another piece of this story would come, but it did.

* * *

i thought i was never going to see you again.

the city loomed in the distance.
we were returning.
everything was amber. wildlight.

i thought you were in love, and you were gone.

here, whole cities are made from regrets, the black wolf said.

everything still smelled like ash.
my head burned. i was lost again.

i picked up four stones from the riverbed and arranged them in compass formation. i placed my hand over each, reciting the last prayer i could remember.

whenever you are most scared, go north.
when the darkness seems it will never end, go north.
when you are no longer afraid to die, go north.
when they tell you not to go. go north.

i lit sage in the center and inhaled until my eyes reddened.

i came upon a camp of young ones. my own child self was there, running and stomping around. laughing and barking orders. making all the plans.

plans, i thought. plans.
when was the last time you had one? the black wolf asked, eyes on the children flickering ’round their fire.

i thought i was never going to see you again.

maybe. him?

the warrior with the chipped shoulder, with the heart made of feathers. being already partly of that species, he didn’t have to turn into a bird- he just chose to burn.

some nights all i saw was his eyes. never heartbroken. just- gazing at me. infinite. in love.

i looked down at my hands. there was still a rusty colored mark around my ringfinger.

the children roared with laughter, howling and poking their sticks into the fire, scattering embers along the forest floor. tiny brushfires lit and unlit- the children weren’t afraid. i knew they would never know what it was like- the city made of regret. i wanted to smile at such roughness, purity- but i couldn’t bring myself to.

it’s happening again, i said, staring. i don’t want to keep walking, i just want to stay here. the roots, hearing this, tangled around my feet. i am better off hidden. i am better off dead.

i thought i was never going to see you again.

from the flickering lights and laughter he emerged. wings tucked behind his back, his face, gentle. he pulled me into the spine of his legend, my hands a dog-eared page. our lips parting- all warmth, all agonizing electric. his hands ran over me, filled to the fingerprints with everything. everything i had loved, let go, refused.

we were back against the ocean again after the snow, mana sending sparks into the ether, the most beautiful firelights i had ever seen.

a thousand timepieces smashed in my head and i shook. we made love for hours, explosion after explosion, one sun climbing higher than the next and bursting- harder. brighter.

i could feel the buildings cracking through the ground around us- i wondered where the throne room was and if he knew i was the king of this awful place, locked in the back of a speeding car, kissing furious through twisted neon streets. every glinting road sign cracked and fell to the pavement as we passed.

we were so close.

i want to spend the rest of my life with you, i heard myself say.

a tree lit up in front of me and my eyes snapped open.

i expected to see the black wolf and the children rushing but i only saw the warrior. standing next to the boughs on fire, the bark pulsing with words.

he outstretched his palms to me, burning red, his wings slowly unfurling as he took me in his arms. the ghosts charged through the forest, to the edges of the city, wailing.

a cast-iron crown rolled to the singed land, the dust at my feet.

i couldn’t remember the rest.

* * *

that night i dreamed of the white wolf, cloudy and hovering on a cliff-top. i called to him but he did not move. my mother was with him. my father, my siblings, my grandmother, and my child self.

i clung to the arms around me- some flesh and blood, some gnarled, some winged, some ghost. their arms, their fingers, their hands were all i could focus on.

with my eyes on the white wolf, i drowned.

* * *

i awoke curled against the smoking fire with the young ones all around me. my body throbbed. i could still taste the warrior, the visceral urge to hide inside his feathered chest. never come out alive.

i thrust my face into the smoke and breathed.

one of the little girls, moppy golden hair and crystal blue eyes, brought me a stack of bones.

this is what remained after the warrior left.
the black wolf sang you back.

i stared at her, wide eyed, accepting the bones into my palms- feeling their roughness, the archaic encryption, the fire, the salt.

the black wolf slept curled on a stone chair a few paces from the children and me. i blinked. one half of my brain walked through the city wearing the roughshod crown, forehead bloody. the other half wandered the burning woods, my own voice screaming against the promises.

how do i know if this is real? i asked the girl, eyes welling with anger and confusion.

i thought i was never going to see you again.

the warrior’s wet breath on my neck, my chest.
his hands.

where is the safe place! i cried, slamming the bones to the ground. sparks shot up and the black wolf’s eyes opened- stoic, not startled.

why aren’t you saying anything? why aren’t you letting me leave?
my finger trembled as it pointed in his direction- the tip flickering, gathering ash.

it’s because of you i’m stuck here- my own dreams touching me in the night, traveling from realm to realm, life to life. i can’t say goodbye, i can’t do anything! soon it will all be cities of regret or burning forests- i can’t keep a promise, i can’t stop regretting, WHAT ELSE do you want me to realize?

the black wolf came down from the stones, standing over the bones. he ground them up into a paste and smeared it on my forehead and tongue. he did the same to the little girl. i did not recognize until that moment, it was me.

in my mind’s eye, i watched myself take the words from the flaming trunks. standing in the city, blood dripping down my face, i repeated them.

i thought i was never going to see you again.
this time, it was my own voice speaking to the little girl.
i ran my hand down her face, crying openly.

i don’t want to do this anymore. it hurts too much.

i curled up on the floor in the tightest ball i could and the children buried me with the dead bird they had found in the underbrush.

i inhaled the dark earth, becoming a tree that broke out on the other side of the mountain.
i emerged from the leaves, calm and crying, a candle lit inside my chest.

when i climbed from the boughs, the black wolf was there to receive me.

you have done well, my child.
now it is time to rest.

* * *

see you, here.

XO

a.

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Into the wild wonderland…

Celebrated as "a wildfire in a world of fluorescent bulbs" and a "poetic force of nature," Queens, NYC native Audrey Dimola is a poet, performer, curator, connector, and lifelong artist, as well as Director of Public Programs at Long Island City's Socrates Sculpture Park. // Thanks so much for stopping by! You'll find all my work on this website, past and present, as well as new blog posts. Poetry, prose, videos, events, photos, articles - it's all here. // As always.. STAY WILD, STAY GRATEFUL!

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