Lake Michigan

a thousand ghost ships rest
in sand, up to their decks
and the fish tend to the sails
like lazy sailors draped in sequined coats.
high above, it’s cold.
i bury my hands inside my jacket.
the wind is taking no prisoners,
i catch my breath as it’s pulled from me.
my own ghosts slip out with every exhale
and i draw shapes in the cold sand,
buried up to my throat
in age and sequined nostalgia.
there’s too much here to ignore.
a forest of smiling trees, gentle hills
and the breeze screaming, “stay,” into my ears.

a ship without an anchor, a storm without a heading.
barnacled and weighed down, splintered
yet seaworthy still. my sails snap taut,
the waves push me hard into the trees
and i stand in the crow’s nest searching for home.

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seven chains of the shadow king

twenty seven years is how long it took
young prince scaling mountains as they shook
three rivers in the valley, his hands cupping water
building stick houses singing his father’s song
two doors in his chest, one push one pull
every breath he holds until heart is full
a third door stands open in sad eyes
within a sigh every time the sun rises
heavy with smoke he is on his knees
held back by the seven chains of the shadow king
its all old, every word and thought
not something found but bought
every day passes another battle fought
skip, trip and slip until he’s caught
another moment in the lion’s jaws
sweet slumber shaken when another wall falls

young prince pays the price of perpetuation
every circle etched feeds his infatuation
with the sensation of elation that comes
from being patterned out over and over again
he’s calling out over and over again
mother are you crying again and again
father will i see you again and again
the mountain will crumble again
and he’s there, fumbling at the corners
trying to make his bed neat, no hope for mourners
grief makes the heart sweet, no love for loners
all windows shut and all doors open
young prince kneeling in a dream
wrapped in the seven chains of the shadow king