Loki, the Trickster, the Crafting-Shape-shifter, I see … you’ve come to me with three faces to date, shifting in the changing light.
Do you remember as we danced bare-footed in the dust? Danced under the burning summer Sun? Your blue eyes streaked with dark, your dark hair a mess and soaked with sweat, dusted by the dirt kicked up by thousands of dancing feet — animals we were, smiling as though crazed, prowling ‘round one another, a Hound and a Doe, a Doe and a Hound, heated snarls on our lips we hissed. We laughed, you pounded your chest and howled into the faded sky.
I dreamt of you, the best sex I’d ever had, out behind the old red barn, when sunset was still summer’s affair, and the blackberries hadn’t yet ripened on the vine. I remember your skin slapped with muddy handprints, where you’d just crawled out of the trenches of the wild, your shoulders burnt and blistering, freckles peppering your straight nose and perfect cheek bones. I don’t know when your face changed from this — this boyish handsomeness, to a new breed of beauty.
You came to me with wicked smiles, a figure in my mind’s eye with silver hair and sharp features, eyes as pale as midday summer skies. Stories for my pen you brought with you, whisperings of old tales dressed up in modern Kevlar, air strikes and toppling flame. “Who am I to make a change?” You asked and laughed sarcastically, arms spread beneath the roiling sky. “Who am I, when already I, my children, been damned to fate?”
Human you appeared, when human you are not — sometimes I see it in the eyes, sometimes I see it in the teeth, a smile so vicious and hands that curled like claws. Tattoos upon your skin told tales in runic lore, ancient twisting markings stand upon your pale skin, a canvas you are just as I am — a canvas to be marked, marked by battles ancient and deep, marked by ink and scars.
And as your face changed again, I saw you were beautiful as always — now blonde hair fine as spun gold, eyes blue and dark, the storming sea. Strange dancer on the ice, the fog rolls in a wall and you point my way with long and tapered fingers. It’s cold here now, summer seems so many years gone and I remember a time before all of that, before I saw you in your feathered cloak all smiles and glee, a time that I feared you. You did not call to me then as you call to me now, as you coil your fingers in my veins and pull at the only history I know.
In this image of you before me, still marked by ancient rites, you run your fingers through my blood. Coy you are, drawing this out before me: my blood a mystery to me, secrets hidden beneath family mythology, lie, omission. This you know: the secret in my marrow, it draws me. Draws me into ice and cold, I yearn to feel beneath my feet the soils where once ancestors walked. You tug me as though by a string.
When did you slip within my chest? When did you tie my heart and soul with string? When did you thread throughout my veins?
I must wonder, though, when you shall take your leave of me? As all seem to do, settling in for moments of inspiration swept away like autumn leaves. The un-chosen, I am, perhaps a curiosity proper. I strain for this, too, my isolation drawing me into you.
Once there was a time I feared you so, feared your brethren, too. Has my fear flaked away, chipped as ice under clipping hooves? Or has fear ceased in me as I stepped into its darkened pool?
Call me away, call me away as you have. I promise you not that I can break these chains.
[Tahni Nikitins has been a practicing pagan for seven years, though dedicated to no one pantheon or Deity, and has been writing since she could maneuver a writing utensil. She has been published in Lilith: Queen of the Desert (Knickerbocker Circus Publishing) and on the Pluma Project. She is currently pursuing a major in psychology with a minor in comparative religion. She regularly volunteers at Sexual Assault Support Services. ]