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[His Assertions]

Jan Kinney


His assertions like the shaking of a serpent’s
shimm’ring tail
Hissed, “Cease, desist! You’re way too close;
don’t even try—you’ll fail!”
In a twisted knot of anger, his profession taut with
As he poised with venom ready and he spit at her
“We are harnessed to the carnage of the stoic and
the Spartan,
Clip those wings and join the mediocre broken and
Be a realist! Do not challenge monolithic this old
All must focus on delusion, vain distraction or
Get caught up in cares of coinage, clamor loudly
for position
In the beautiful parade of the decay of your
You long to rise to some great good, know peace
and help your brother?
This composition of your bliss--these urges--you
must smother.”
In a low and primal grumble she resoundingly
answered, “No.”
And the growl of her resistance so enraged her
giant foe
That he flew with claws extended at the softness
of her heart
Shrieking, “You will not succeed at this! Depart!
Depart! Depart!”
The chanting of his mantra stung like wasps
within her ears
As she lay in pools of crimson, he recounted all
her fears:
“First off,” said he, “you’re weary. You are weak
and much too old.
For the journey is a long one, and the nights are
gravely cold.
You will wither like the flower that is raped upon
the field
By the onslaught of November’s chill unwilling so
to yield
To the hope and warmth of springtime coming
surely in its hour
But too late to save the fragile, frosted, frail late-
blooming flower.”
“’Tis true,” said she “All see that I have lines upon
my face,
But I have earned each silver hair, all honored in
their place.
The journey may be dark and cold, too treacherous
and steep
For youth whose nature and resolve--unlike mine--
isn’t deep.”
He pondered long and silent, then with an evil grin
Said, “You are not prepared for this-you are not fit
and trim.
You’re frumpy, dumpy, dressed in rags and
frankly, it’s offensive.
Don’t you think you should turn back? Aren’t you
“Though hurling insults come to me from those
who would maltreat,
I turn my eyes to higher ground--their words fall
at my feet.
Those who will be impressed with me can do so
without eyes
For I need no approval here, alone I seek the
“This prize of which you speak, my dear, perhaps
is all a vision;
A formless, fraudulent belief, at best a rash
To change the life you know and risk it all--for
what?” He screamed.
“Because,” said she “That’s how I know I am
alive--I’ve dreamed.”
“But what about the ones you love? They want to
keep you close.
It’s sinful to abandon them, just when they need
you most.
With all the things you do for them, where will
they turn instead
While, selfishly, you’re chasing all the dreams
within your head?”
Her eyes welled up with tears as she recalled those
she adored.
With one quick stroke the rogue uncloaked his
sharp successful sword.
“The ones I love-they love me, too-and they must
That each of us, within our time, must rise and
make a stand.
For on that day when death is near, we each pay
our own debts,
And I will not go down that day, paying with
Suddenly, the gaping wounds she’d suffered in the
Closed and healed without a scar. The dark night
slipped away.
The pools of crimson disappeared, enveloped by
the ground
And in their place sprung roses, red, and sunlight
all around.
She stood before a looking glass and in its true
She saw the author of her pain, the source of her
The one who held the wounding sword and put her
through such hell
Stared back at her with equal gaze--an image she
knew well.
The blist’ring scream confronting her, at last,
revealed its myst’ry,
The demon poised for battle was the voice of her
own hist’ry.
And through the silvered mirror waited destiny--
her path,
The wicked sword clenched now within her fist to
break the glass
Bore boldly an inscription scrolled upon its steely
At once a million prismed shards flashed fire upon
the wind.
The rupture sweet, a clear defeat, the villainy
Gave way to clear trace rising, a race to run
And her ascent untethered sent her bounding
toward the dream.
The road aloft was rocky and deserted, not well
But her traveling companions were conviction and
Though no one sees her climbing there upon the
mountain’s face,
She showed the way for others who might travel
in her place.
The few that came behind her clawing out of that
same rift,
Stopped to marvel at the roses, red, and wonder at
the gift
Of the glass that’d turned to diamonds now
imbedded in the trail
From the strange, late-blooming flower who
refused, at last, to fail.