Three poems by Maura MacDonald
Because nothing ever happens
if you leave things closed,
there was a woman
who opened a box.
The box was covered in locks,
stickers declaring danger,
and bright yellow warning tape
wrapped around the sides.
So she scraped away the warnings—
and with little bits of glue
sticking to her nails,
she pulled a silver pin from her hair
to pick each and every lock.
Stuffed inside she found the shining
things the gods had hidden away.
Out they flew,
not the evil crawling things,
but joy upon joy—
fluttering about her
like bits of colored paper,
until they flitted out,
even the highest windows,
to make their way in the world.
When the gods saw what her gift had done
they sent the men with sticks and knives,
to gather the joys all back.
But their fingers grasped on empty air,
and they had to settle just for her.
She was dancing when they took her,
with the last bit of joy that was left—
one tiny piece of hope,
floating about her head.
and in a moment
has more life than love ever gave him.
His heart is pounding—
and there is something in the shadows,
something more than lust,
or even love for her.
He’s defeated the god of death
and just ahead the light of the world,
shining into the cavern,
is a glimpse of their perfect future;
the only thing he doesn’t know
is what happens in-between.
Some like to say,
that love makes us who we are,
but it is for this moment of the unknown
that his veins pulse with fire.
Don’t unlock the box of secrets;
don’t peer back at the burning masses,
so we do,
and so are made of sin and salt.
We are turning.
Jack and Jill
came down that hill
so long after they started up,
that all that remained
from the time they departed
was a bucket between them—
even their names left behind them.
His name was Hjuki
and her name was Bil *
and when they left
it was for the waters of heaven,
but when they returned
we saw only bumbling fools.
* Hjuki and Bil are mythical Norse twins thought by some to be the inspiration for the Jack and Jill nursery rhyme.
Maura MacDonald edits the magazine quintessentialverse.net.
Read MacDonald’s poetry blog at whenthetimeiswrong.blogspot.com.