Was there only one world after all, which spent its time dreaming of others?Philip Pullman
I made my bed
Tucked the corners of my sheets
Six feet underneath
Laid down my head
And sighed in sleep
Wearing the night like a cloak
Over my shoulders
Diamond freckles on my cheeks
By the shadows
Stapled lips and bloodied feet
But you saw me
Wrapped me up in sunlight’s skin
Mended me with gold
And traced the cracks
And healed me from within
Offered me your blood
Sweet ambrosia on my lips
Climbed down into my grave
To lie beside me
Hold my hand
And teach me how to live
My midnight turned to morning
Your breath into my own
You cast my name
Into the stars
And hid my heart within your bones
And day was never sweeter
My sleep undone
Because you saw me
And knew that I deserved the sun
I don’t hear music anymore
Remind me what it sounded like
Before all the birds had gone
Before the trees stood still
And ceased to sing of morning
Of the sun to follow darkness
Of a world where you still smiled
And I could hear it
I could hear it
Call out into the cliff-borne wind
With murmured prayer beside the sea,
And wait among the salt-worn stones
Until that whisper summons me.
For I was meant to run the roads
Of far-flung dust, unhindered sun—
And lie in beds of daisy heads
Until my days on Earth are done.
I wish to see a storm-wrought sky—
To walk within some waking dream
Of faeries on a misted moor
And moonlight on a sylvan stream.
Where rain holds fast to cobbled streets
And shines like silver in the night
Beneath a castle’s turrets high,
As lanterns set the dark alight.
The Last Place We Belong
Sit next to me
Gift me your dreams
I’ll write mine on a secret note
And have you guess the whole night through
And we can play pretend
Build caverns out of sheets
And crown ourselves with paper rings
And we’ll laugh in our little corner
This place we’ve put aside
For a moment
Just a moment
You found me in a sea of stars
In silver-speckled skies
And plucked me from that field of night
Of a thousand diamond eyes
You kept me close to give you light
Beside you, I was bound
To walk the earth without my wings
My feet fettered to the ground
And once, I turned to watch the sun
With whom I used to dance
And twice, I reached to touch the moon
With nothing but her porcelain glance
And thrice, I screamed and screamed and screamed
With silence in return
For that world that I had loved and lost
That blue heaven for which I’d yearned
Was too far—oh so far—to hear my doleful cries
And so, I stayed, no longer bright
To shine for you, and only you
Because you told me it was right
Tofaer closed his eyes and raised his face toward the golden light of the sun, leaning into the gunwale and the wind that swept his hair from his cheeks. He could taste the salt that gathered on his lips—feel his stomach lurch with the waves that bobbed beneath his feet.
In all his life, the ground had never been so unsure. There had always been an armful of branches to catch him. As if the trees that raised him truly watched him grow in maternal silence. It was difficult to leave—his eyes could still conjure the turrets of the sylvan kingdom as they disappeared behind the bronze sheen of the ocean. But the trees still spoke to him here—however far he ventured from Saian’s shore.
“What do you suppose we’ll find out here?” He turned away from the water to listen.
“I’m hoping for a mermaid.” Bylor replied from his seat on a cask of Tinnabirian wine yet to be moved below deck, smirking between bites of the apple he cradled in his hands. “Maybe a faerie or two.”
“Moved on from vying for human affection, have we?” Dorien prodded. “Were you doing that poorly?” Tofaer’s gaze flew to Bylor in time to watch the man give the other a rude gesture involving his fruit.
“It makes you wonder, though—doesn’t it?” He let his laugh trail away into the thoughts he spoke aloud, once more staring out at the endless horizon of blue upon blue. “What are we looking for so far from the mainland?”
“Perhaps a better motivated crew.”
His heart skipped a beat at the voice; and by the smiles that fell instantly from his shipmates’ faces, he didn’t have to look at the woman dressed in cyan and emerald silk to know who she was.
“What are you three doing trading hopes and dreams when there’s a ship to be looked after?” There was a moment of silence as they remained where they were, as if they’d been encased in stone at the mere sight of her; and crossing her arms, she shooed them away like the maddened shepherds he’d encountered in the Meadowlands. “Off you go.”
His companions scurried in opposing directions as he answered, to inspect the rigging or otherwise make themselves look busy. And Tofaer darted back to the gunwale to retrieve the satchel he’d forgotten at his feet a few minutes earlier. Bending his knees, he crouched to lift the leather strap from the ground to place it over his shoulder—only to rise to a gale much stronger than before.
And seasoned men shouting as they pointed at the sky.
Tofaer lifted his head as a shadow cast the starboard in darkness and staggered backwards, catching himself before he stumbled overboard and into the water below. And he blinked, desperate to be sure that he hadn’t imagined it.
Two dark wings—awash in scales that shimmered silver as they captured the sun’s light before blotting it out entirely. There was no sun to speak of in their midst—only the chill left behind in its absence.
The crew recoiled as it swooped overhead, as if simply ducking would shield them from the primordial creature’s lethal breath.
“That’s not what we’re looking for, is it?” Tofaer exhaled in the torrent of wind left in the dragon’s wake, watching as it reared up and vanished into the west like a phantom of iridescent light.
He turned at the word that left Captain Naresa’s tongue, and she sighed as she tore her gaze from the vast expanse of a wild sky to settle it somberly on his face.