The shaman wears the maiden’s skin.
He sings, he dances
to the memory of her beating heart.
He pierces her shadow,
which bleeds disintegration
of fingers yielding their grasp.
He sinks into the skin of the earth.
The maiden wears the shaman’s skin.
Clouds pass, blend, and shred.
Now that she is dead, she will live.
Holy crows rise as one to treetops,
rasping praise to golden mothers
descended from light and ash.
The world shifts furrows slightly.
Some people remain; some vanish into wind.
Some take shape, though never born.
My life is no longer here.
But I remain, walking nowhere,
counting heartbeats to silence.
[Raised in Jackson and Meridian, Mississippi, Ronald Terry earned an M.A. in English from the University of Southern Mississippi, where he wrote his Master’s Thesis on the poetry of Ted Hughes (“Ted Hughes and the Power of Darkness”). Ronald started his career as a Secondary School and Community College teacher, but for the past twenty-eight years has worked as a Technical Writer in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas. He published his first poem in 1980; since then his poems have appeared in many print and online publications such as Poetrybay, Night Cry, Space and Time, Amanita Brandy, Circle Network News, Anteroom, Dead Snakes, Hungur, The Horror Zine, among others. In recent years, just for fun, he has experimented with writing free verse and prose poems in the Old English (Anglo-Saxon) language, totally ignoring traditional Old English metrical forms. An ardent Celtic music fan, he can be seen every year haunting all the Irish/Scottish heritage festivals in North Texas.]