W. Jude Aher

And how young isn't she anymore, running and never quite running away from. She stands alone this night, facing frozen fields, feeling for something real. Her sight is lost to the magic of effect. Wasted white is warmth in snow, owning sound grounded around her -- silence. A full moon moves not, while everything is remembered but for what is not. Surrealism marks the sky, locking the moon to the earth. She doesn't smile or cry, just stands hard into the wonder of why.

And a swallow breaks the night, and dreams of crystallized love march in line just ahead of her. Her hair blows out to the wind in its wake. An old house is suddenly remembered to exist long into the background of her slightly magic stage. As sirens call, she falls into movement -- now earth breaks beneath her naked feet; cold is but a fleeting religion -- into movement toward that house and its reflection of stillness, eternal as the cold.

Trees lean hard, stark as the wind which pulls them. As if shadows were voices, she respects their call with a nod of her eyes. And the swallow has long since passed its way by. A man lays his lips hard into her breath, in negation of rest, a quest is filled as it begins. And summer is the reflection of all things that swim, as nothing stems from birth but birth. The waves of dream roll as wind through her hair, reaching long into ice. Warm behind her closed bubble of flesh, time clashes against movement, and she jerks around.

Doors close ancient wood, walls of years lie built around her. Full bodied, her hair comes to rest slowly down across her face, begging for a tract of what. Brown against her flesh with just a tint of flickering light hair grabs warmth as might. And yet her hand motions it away. Whose face lies open where today? Death -- does death have anything to say? She moves out of her own way, to find this house scratching somewhere against the core of her memory, but the walls refuse to confide their name. Something, isn't quite the same, but as what?

An open hallway hints at light sighing to itself just beyond. And does it seem that light always draws light to itself? She moves against any judgment she might make. She moves to the memory she can't find, through doors, past walls. And before her lies a room, carved from wood and stone, carved from black. Memories of a sack and dirt cross her lips. Her body drips unheard by the walls. She stalls just before completing the turn. Pictures burn as the etching of a scene by fire glimpses her. And she glimpses what she doesn't see. Something dares to be as she turns to the memory of, as she turns into the room. Black dirt piled small below a moon calling nothing by name but for the shadows of shadows. Straining, her eyes almost discern intricacies of, ... what ...

She falls on the slip of a loose edge, her fall wedging her into a voided eternity. Nothing within reach. Falling. Time stalling just ahead of her. Naked in the light ,she lies just ahead, fighting what not to fall back. For a moment upon her hand, stands who she would never remember, would she see. Small it stood within its shadow, a touch of scarlet or a touch of blue. And behind hair so fine in silver thread a smile of ice or warmth reaches out to touch her. Her body meets her body, and she wakes into sleep, her hand empty but for the grasp of a blanket. And sleep wakes into time, for her to remember, almost, as she rolls back into a woman's sleep, beside a man she doesnít want. Pieces clash against pieces, for pictures to clash against silence.

Morning lights harsh in rays across her bed, and though trying not to wake she continually does. She slides quickly out of the sleeping grasp of whoever this man is. Standing naked above him, her body shivers slightly within an almost pale white skin. Color waits for color to return. Her stomach churns against the memory of a night now past. What lingers, she yearns to pass. But care barely reaches to the touch of anywhere. Nevertheless, she turns to shower. In a dream of water and clean; and maybe he'll be gone by the time she's finished. Within the rage of water, something reminds her to remember, these dreams she always forgets, yet a lingering taste of the touch of a man, eternally remains. But as she comes fully awake, her hands touch against her naked body. And a small tear crosses the reflection of her naked and alone. Someone moans and whatever is there more. The tear passes unnoticed in the mix of her shower torn face.

A city doesn't seem to believe in me. Each step is as of the stroke of a slightly dull knife. Winds, like breath, slice through these concrete streets as ice. I don't walk but just stand in a corner between two buildings. Waiting on nowhere, but tied by something pulling against the edge of my mind. As a hostile face crushed flush against mine, this city binds me apart. As she is late to come, I am forced to accept this presence of a voided ice fate. And finally when she does come, almost is it ice of whom she meets. Meeting onto a filament of life, the illusion of something more, bares out a question eternally asked of silence. Behind her eyes lies more than she can ever dare to deliver or receive. But even the illusion of try offers the dream to flight. And though she'll easily forget, we move off toward each other.

She seems to have forgotten the colors of his face too easily this time, and even so, something seems to remain that she can't quite retain. A lonely try tires her eyes, and she cries alone on this following night. That man gave her no name, and strange it seems that she didn't ask. What she owned last night, did he manage to take it away from her or what? Her room feels small and much too empty. He knew something more, why couldn't he wait to say good-bye.

Night always falls hard on her whenever she is alone. But even so, it has been more than a month since she has stopped cluttering her bedís mind with strangers. Too much is wrong and it is taking ever too long to break away from any previous night. Voids are becoming voids as fill becomes fill. And more so is that dream she has begun remembering. The cold; the warmth. The sirens in chains who seem to own her. That eternal anti-climax and never quite. She feels as if someone is reaching toward her through that dream. Someone tearing demands into her through that dream. And alone, only alone can she sleep so.

Her phone off its hook waits for no one. Its ringing never comes and she can go for another day. The play of her life lies in a frozen moment behind black curtains.

The harsh quiet of Sunday lies clasped tightly between two skies of autumn. Day across the edge of night and she sits, embedded upon an outcropping of rock. Wrapped in a full-length black cloak as a newborn wrapped in life. Water brakes in ever small waves against rock. Wind laughs through her hair. Her eyes deeply withdrawn behind worn skin fear the swimming motion of the water. And yet in equal hold they are drawn out into motion. With fear across her lips she reaches back across herself for the dream. That scream holds her, on the why edge of where.

Water in the break of reflected light, sprays cool across her eyes. Turning away, she tries. And she cries right out into the eternal ice screams held fast to the wind. When --- a small woman stands to the left waiting to be born into sight, through the half-seeing of her left eye. Still unseen, she stands of wind, of earth. Translucent silk in a lock of change between an eternal blue and black-souled scarlet, so is she dressed, or is her skin an individualized nakedness? Hair in silver soft and fine, runs in a dream of freedom down her body thin and full. Fingers free move slowly toward the woman lost on the rock. A motion of silence reaches out, beyond form to touch.

From the edge of her sight, she startled into the sight of a small creature. And small fingers motioning to her. Her lips move without sound and more than frozen words reach up to her. Of a soul born out of someone's greed to eternity. Of a small life who owns the universe and nothing. Of someone alone and yet belonging to more than a man she has never met, who most probably has never met himself. And then the creature smiles, not happiness but a warmth so deeply warm that tears are its essence.

Come --

And pictured illusion becomes reality.

And her dream remains or is remembered. Black dirt piles small below a moon calling nothing by name but for the shadows of shadows. And as he stands, she remembers his face from a night lost to touch, lost to what more she canít remember or won't. His shovel pours the last remains of black dirt upon the mound. Sound is more than still. It fills time to the edge. Wedged between color and black he stands and suddenly moves around into himself sketching something into black. Something ever more than black. Blue sparked scarlet from within a buried sack. And the man is more than a man. And within his eyes she sees black pain buried in wonder. On a rock alone, biting rain draws her attention. Alone? But on her knee sits a woman small, hopeful, but there.

I sit on the edge of my bed, straining for of what I have just said. On the edge of sleep back into myself I fall. But just motion is the swirl of time owning the crosses of my every path into ways known. Back, quietly back until I turn to face myself sitting in a glade of water and rock. Owning the wind owning itself. I sit just north of time, freedom beyond the edge.

Death is the illusion of time, and I mind nothing but the freedom of myself from the focus of no demands. I take water into the cup of my hands and form the object of life. Movement is the essence of its time. I name the lines without a name. And then frame its reference through itself, from the point of I. To create, what but creation. Give birth into the hands of a child ... My eyes surge from blue in silver strength to black. Again drawn back to myself. Again sensing sleep itching across my body drawing so near in its distance. I scream freedom from myself. FREEDOM! Until I turn restless within myself, remembering or forgetting before I wake.

I bleed for a life which belonged maybe too long into my soul. I bleed for the death of which life called. I walk circles through a park frozen for a winter frame. Passing always but close to the sidings of my name. A woman passing fears my eyes, continuing, leaving me with my only whys. Can't quite grasp them while awake. Something left to take, but where am I. Past the grave, let me pass her grave. When time lets me feel her into me until I can hear breathe whatever our distance. Love was our illusion which held us so long, but of the touch we reached so hard to find ever so suddenly and but not, that we were of a belonging, or was it I?

She sits bathing in water so warm that the air touches her ever softly with no need for refrain. And a creature small pours color into the water, into motion which mates water to air. A meeting of stares, two people hold on a shared breath, sounds on a growing birth between them. Yet, all the same, the woman cries but suddenly, and no longer to herself. She cries with the small creature in woman, for the more of her birth. Morning folds into night there in the bath and birth is the essence of water.

She rises from her bath feeling more clean than she ever could imagine. She rises to herself before a mirror. Seeing silver into black spark silence alive into her eyes. She knows of and needs to be of, in the birth of touch. Nevertheless of men and voids. Of someone more. But she does not know his name. Will he ever call? The small woman now ever here at her side, knows he wonít from some unseen reference of herself, knows until they both know. It is still and what can, she sits to wait, waiting for something to say.

And when the little woman ever speaks, colors seek toward the other woman, her eyes bending into words:

Somewhere, almost Death

moments long,

close like all the rest

Best to be

Nothing or all

Silver skaters carve no trails

across, even their sky

Traces try

Forever to replace what

Dirt black bleeds

from out the air

and he who cares

but stares from behind closed


or dies

and winter as water lies

a frozen death of life

across pitch moon light

a surrealistic defect

as somewhere free

just me below a weeping tree,

tainted by myself

where do I see

And when the magic gives her voice into silence suddenly she knows. The words reflect back upon themselves. She turns and speaks, forgetting there is no need. As she speaks, the small woman's colors, who was she, rise in pitch. And somehow she knows it is there, the close which will open into him. But how can they find the place in her dreams. She draws back against a chair in an equally sudden defeat. But for the little woman who still shines, will she have lost her sight, which takes both to find.

On her shoulder with eyes closed, the small woman moves through a world forever unseen by the other woman. To feel through the motions of feel. Pointing in the direction of what holds focus in real. More than a place but a face carved by him and the winds of death into a piece of land. So lives the reach of her hand. And the woman follows almost there. Or they follow. "I know," she speaks, "he also belongs to you."

So tired of trying forever on the edge of life, her death is so close that do I ever let her die, will I ever die myself? I let go and am replaced by illusion too time fast. I need the freedom. And I turn back. Back to her grave, back to live the completion of her death. The rest wonít hold. And as I walk through hill and tree-strewn fields, I feel back. Moving toward her grave I almost remember, until slowly I do.

Her warm voice held onto mine, a find known. For a moment we grew and color warmed about us all sharp and free, speeding in its reach. And then time caught us and we slowed eternal reflecting back, on the cross of graying walls. Calls ebbed slowly between us. And time took us years through this moment almost held. Then warmth broke the line of her breath over itself into the birth of ice. I grasp time and this moment to leave her with me still. Silver skies in the pitch of night and the mound of her black grave lay death upon my feet. My skin grows ice in a drift away from my soul. Death questions my fear. But I ignore time by remembering our birth in freedom, such the form of its life. We are birth and death as we are of men. Needing more, I reach back into our death lying ever away from my soul. And there she dies within me. Ice crystallizing into seeds of void against the wind. Finding it so hard to move back away, when is the suddenness of our belonging in death. In the moon shadow of a weeping willow, I lay ebbing from life. And where is my care to reach out?

As she stands above his fallen form, in but an ever fine thread of life is he dying. She stands with nothing to try, or even why she is here, just to watch a man die. Wanting to leave, but she canít try. To see ...

That little woman, all hair in silver reach lays upon him the sky of a silver warmth (she watches from so far away) a fine breath between life and death. Silent touch in scream, while her eyes die, so his return (and she sees the smile in its ever truth for the final time). He rises to stand alone beneath a weeping tree. But silver streaks his eyes eternal. Holding no reflection of she, just him and more.

As there she turns from him, still not knowing his name, as he never spoke it. Returning home.