“But, on the other hand, there were the leaves. Mrs. Darling examined them very carefully; they were skeleton leaves, but she was sure they did not come from any tree that grew in England.”
—J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
Move on, they say, but where shall I go?
I try to fall into another.
He kneels at my feet, worships the hem of my dress,
tells me I am the most beautiful girl he has ever held.
He crushes my ribs when he holds me.
He leaves bruises on my throat
when he kisses me, shaped like islands in the middle of the ocean,
with only wild animals as inhabitants.
His passion hurts me. He’s not you.
Someone gave me the gift of frankincense and myrrh today.
Holy chapel in winter where the weary come to pray,
to get down on their knees in genuflection.
All the white seven day candles swaying back and forth
with the breath of prayer.
I dream I’m following a coffin, a simple pine box.
Awful sounds come from it. Sounds of sorrow and fear.
The deer have come for the apples at the edge of the woods,
and they are graceful as ballerinas when they move through the trees.
Skeleton leaves swirl and dance
All day long.
I have done everything right.
I have done everything wrong.
Corrine De Winter is a Stoker Award Winner for The Women at the Funeral. She is the author of many books, including Virgin of the Apocalypse ,Valentine, (both Stoker nominated), Touching The Wound- Poems in Memory of Kurt Cobain, and more. Her latest book Valentines For The Dead, a collection of short ethereal fiction, has been applauded by author Heather Graham, Thomas Ligotti, and James Sclavunos (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.) She is an expert on the paranormal, with articles on Nikola Tesla, Padre Pio, and ghost hunting, appearing in FATE magazine, The New York Quarterly and many others.
Photo: Natalia Drepina, “Scar”