The Lake of Disremembering

A Frog Prince story

There is no easy exchange
At the lake of disremembering
Where the pilgrim stones
Poke sharp,
Just the heat in my hands
And that look on your face
As I told you to go in the water
Take these things away,
I said, I do not need them
They are not safe,
They are not safe
So I popped out those parts of me
That I was told
I should not be
—Just a few small things
These golden splinters
Yet you staggered with their weight
You said
Take back your bone and stand in strength
Take back your heart and stand in courage
Take back your fire and stand in power
But I would not.
With puny arms
And my trembling flame
They would surely cast me down
And leave me alone
Weeping in the dark.
You said
What are you now,
If not alone?
And left me stranded on the shore

Lake watched you
As you walked into her
And she wondered
Why does this boy not turn back?
She swallowed you whole
And sucked you down
To hold you and examine
Lake saw you held my treasures well And just like me
She loved you for it
So she chilled your blood
That you no longer felt her cold
And kissed your skin
’til it turned thick and brown
Poured yellow jelly on your eyes
So you could see
The glory of her gloom
And my drowned parts
Grew muddy skin
Tight with the pulse
Of their hunger
To be called home

Sometimes in my dreams
I go down to the stony shore
To look at the water
Slate grey and choppy
Or shrouded and still
And wonder about
Those slimed and mysterious shapes
I hope you still hold for me
But then the acid wash of day
Brings it’s own insidious logic,

And I tell myself
To stay away
From fearful things
I’m missing bits of course
I’ve open wounds that weep
And weep
Things that leak from me
Oozing memories of the parts
I have betrayed
Distorted shadows
Hungry mouths

I need you now I say
My life has become unmanageable With one leg
Half a heart
And no dreams
Just the tendency to tilt into
What everyone else is doing
I have covered my mirrors
And am veiled to myself
Where is my sextant?
Where is my pole star?
They lie sleeping at the bottom of a lake
Is it too late
To ask you back?
To tell you it’s okay
That you may sit again
On your own chair
Take that place of yours at table
And lay again in your own bed
Come back to me, my love
And bring all my filthy gifts

I did need them after all
And I’m sorry you waited so long

Words: Deirdre Gleeson

Images: JR Korpa on

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Deirdre Gleeson
Deirdre Gleeson
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