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  • Writer's pictureEnchanted Conversation

The Queen's Temple by Alexander Etheridge

There’s a scorpion in your mind,

and vast fires in

your eye.

The sun went down

ten thousand years ago, its light fell

into a swallowing dark.

Listen to the bell

ringing over a mass grave,

hear your heart stop in an ocean

of silence.

Hear an absolute

absence, there where a frigid blue

sinks into the forest.

Hear the bell stop, watch the fox

and the lamb fall into black shadows.

Was it in this misty world

where you first touched the face

of grief? Do you remember

those closed eyes,

and that first wave of cold rain?

One vision bled into the next—

the first dream wove with a dark thread

a death mask for the final

dream . . . it was there

that you were born into

blind hungers and stark prayers,

and it was there where you set out to find

a hidden path up the mountain

to the Queen of Birds in her

ancient temple, where beauty’s

word, one perfect word,

lights the dusky chambers.

Alexander Etheridge has been developing his poems and translations since 1998. His poems have been featured in Wilderness House Literary Review, Ink Sac, Cerasus Journal, The Cafe Review, The Madrigal, Abridged Magazine, Susurrus Magazine, The Journal, and many others. He was the winner of the Struck Match Poetry Prize in 1999.

Cover: Amanda Bergloff

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