The others called me listen, and brother, and teacher – but I was so lonely, and afraid. I wanted to be strong for them. I wanted to be wise for them. But I was so saddened, even then. I couldn’t forget. Gift or curse aside, I had to look into the eyes of the ones I loved the most and keep lying to them by omission. Angel, magi, conqueror, beneath a twisted sky. I loved though. I always loved, even as a thing of incalculable fury. Even with terrifying wraith-kings and shadowed vistas before me. Through your grace I came to despise every act of cruelty that myself or another committed in the name of a greater good. Even the greatest good, as with I who was permitted. But such sensitivity could never absolve me of my sins. Not when one has lived as flesh, as brother and sister, and knows the soul of Man as I do. Do you remember, beloved? Do you remember what you told me on the banks of the river, when I was finally brave enough or broken enough to share the fullest truth with you?
“But you are so much more than you were, my love. So much more than they made you. This darkest magic, tearing us from living flame. Sky changing places with earth. But you are more than a wound because you didn’t cheat the heart. More than a spear, because you didn’t turn your back. You earned these insights, beloved. This terrifying knowledge. Oh, brave one, you have earned more than simple desire and affection from me. You’ve earned my respect, this place in the deepest part of me. I know exactly who you are. I think perhaps I’ve always known. No spirit has given me what you have. No god either. An agile strength, a clarity and sense of hope I didn’t think possible here. My honour is yours. My heart and sex and breath is yours. The sun hasn’t died, Kashi. Look…”
And you pressed your palm against my chest. Such sweetness in your eyes, such determination. Utterly without guile. I wept, of course, and later we laughed together. By all the stars, my love, you were so much greater than I. And still, you remind me of my name. That secret name we both share. So, I shall do as you taught me in those stolen moments. I will turn myself inside out if it will unite earth with sky once more. I shall love furiously, with insight, rigor, compassion. Fearlessly and without limit, as you did of our kith and kin. As you did of me. If there is a poet in me still, it thrives on the tenderness with which you placed that seed. That haunting, lilting thing of you. Ave, my beloved one. You exist. I carry you with me, through fire, in chains. I am lonely even now, but I am not alone. Neither am I fallen. I stand in the place of the crossing, enflamed with your kiss. I stand with you.