Exile of the Soul

In the distance, the call to prayer.

On the horizon, the sun’s excited fire

cools itself in the calm ocean,

and the stars come out to frolic

across the ebony sky.

Closer to me, the stream runs

and bubbles and swirls,

its creatures calling to mate and replenish

while the warmth of the twilight breeze

still brings the smell of blossoms that open

to the night like lovers’ hearts.

This Summoner has a plaintive cry,

a bitter rind to a sweet surrounding.

But I am leaving.

The gods hear our prayers,

our songs,

receive our sacrifices,

command our obedience,

and prove themselves no higher

in nobility and purpose.

My soul has emptied itself of spirit

as an hourglass unturned.

I look back and see the torches on the walls,

the candles in the sanctuary, candles that

do not outshine or hold the power of the stars.

The Summoner’s cry seems more plaintive the further I go.

I wonder if a solitary god has seen me walking, and calls me

to his purpose.

If he has, he will meet me where I am going.

By the brightening lunar light, I press on, my footsteps

soft on fertile soil, where night things track and hunt,

but there is no fear.

The call of the night is as sweet as the Summoner’s is bitter,

and I am merely trading one temple for another that existed

before the dawn of time.

I turn away from the sanctuary,

the Summoner’s cry goes silent,

and the prayers that surrounded and sustained me

fall away like the coils of a dead serpent.

My soul is naked to the night, and if the gods do smile,

they will blanket it before the sun rises,

and claim it as their own.


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