Exulansis by S. Blackthorn Riddle

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ex·u·lan·sis (n.): the tendency to give up trying to talk about an experience because others are unable to relate to it – whether through envy, pity, or simple foreignness.

Narrated by Mike J. Fort

I cannot tell you
of the shadows that rush onward
through the leaves in that moment before
they are taken by the wind.

Of the gods and ghosts that cut
through crowds like stalks of wheat in a field
and nudge me as we pass on the street.

I cannot tell you
of the strange women that live in the trees
whose eyes glow like distant fires
and whistle joyless bird-songs in the dead of night.

How the murmurations of springtide burst from the roots,
and with balmy wings run Jack Frost through,
rousing crocus and snowdrop in pelagic dance–
on sleeping garden – in iridescent swell,
waking hazy minds from languid winter dreams.

I cannot tell you, I cannot.
To be a child, chasing wild hares
barefoot through the grassland of an overgrown estate,
when, in stillness, you catch your breath,
and a statue moves to brush the hair from your eyes,
as field mice drop wreaths of tansy
and clover at your feet.

O, the muted madness I resign myself to;
the exquisite pain of an open heart.
I once beat my fists upon the doors of darkness
’til resistance bled me of banality
and truth, answering, gathered me from the step.

My voice rings now, as wind through leaves: is it not worth it?
To trade the mask of convention
for a dreamcoat darned with the heartstrings of magic,
and delicate patchwork-arresting wonder?

Can you hear this auspicious tithe of woven words,
peculiar legend without boon of a map?

I leave for you a gift—a golden apple             
plucked from the low-sweeping boughs of the sun.
Taste it.
Arrange your doubts about the rim of your lips,
and chase the gilded sphere to the depths of your belly.
And as you burrow toward the center, does self not fold in upon self?         
Inner and inner–the tighter the chrysalis,
the more brilliant the wings with which to fly.

I cannot tell you. In waking sleep, you merely forgot:
the golden apple is, after all,
the heart remembered.

BIO: S. Blackthorn Riddle is a freelance writer and forest-punk living in New York City with a menagerie of cats, a hoard of books, and all of his imaginary friends. He has been published by Abyss & Apex, Enchanted Living magazine, and most recently by The Quarter(ly). You can find him folding paper airplanes and sailing them off into the void on Twitter @Silvatiicus.