Gift for a Gift

You ask what price I paid to paint Ymir’s brains
across the cosmos? Sacrifice of hangman’s jig to
my own mortality, morality, I lost humanity come
the gallows, all that was left was ergi sorcerer,
wild wanderer, Bolverk Sly-Serpent questing after
Gunnlod’s mead. What Tyr whispered to the Fenris
Wolf as his hand snapped off is the same I say to
you: a gift for a gift, and your offerings summon
my whimsy, flipping the bird at me is a compliment,
you etched and sketched and drew and quartered me –
don’t think to tame the storm, I ride on thuderheads,
I ate up my forefather’s bones and took Jotun into me
all to become strong, because I could, because I was
there, and the opportunity to be more than ancestral
clash of ice and fire called to me like Frigga’s breast,
Wanderer, Warrior, Wounded King, I am all at once, a
conundrum of clashing seasons, but in truth I am always
winter, and your spine will dance in ice in my hands
so keep playing, sweet child: seek my riddled answers
I cannot promise you a throne but wisdom, glory, pain.

Inanna

She walks on soil tilled clay saffron with blood
lady of the Me and lions, crown of evening stars
Hail Inanna! Draped in rainbows and floods, arks
adrift from her fury find harbor at her breasts
she gives and she takes, courts, coquettes, claims
the young and strong and makes warriors lovers
Hail Inanna! Queen of the Heavens, daughter of Anu
Mistress of the Bull and Seeker of Dumuzi, braver
of Ereshkigal’s gibbet, Maiden to Woman, wise regent
of the heart and war, which are evermore the same.

Alfather

What would you ask of me, Alfather?
Old Man of the Roaring Northern Gale.
I have seen your blue cloak in auroras
your bloody hollow on yews of sacrifice.
In your eye socket were worlds and kings
feasting on your brains, and your grimace
was more wolf-smile or raven curiosity
than pain, you swung, Gallows King, wept
runes onto Mannaheim, your bag of stars
empty of all but the most crushing embers.
Odin Many-Faced, your men and women mark
their days with interlocking triangles to
nooses, for the hangman’s jig befits jester
questors who bathe themselves in wanderlust.
Am I just the newest in a string of Ynglings
to sip mead from giant skulls and wordsmith
your epithets to death? Will hale horns be
enough to please the King of Nine Worlds?
Or are you just toying as a muse for a lost
poet that cannot tell needfires from knives?
You take insults as compliments, and my raised
middle finger is an invitation to stalk, strike
so I write to appease you, sinking into madness,
and you are all winter and pain, endless journey.

Uriel’s Laugh

We revel in spring blossoms, cherry trees
sweet on the bud, my soul sister with wind
wild coils of black curls, skin like earth,
eyes afire with babble brook joy, I put a
fragrant white flower behind her ear and we
talk of the hereafter, of the future, of the
impossible, improbable, and miracles that rain
down from the sky like prayers, Uriel is the
Light of God because her laugh is lightning,
her smile a bonfire, her all-encompassing
presence unfettered celebration of life, and
though her trusty spear is at her side, her
true weapon is a disarming grin, for who could
ever war with the elder sister of the angels?

Freyr

The curve of a tree, weighed down by blossoms
is my favorite place to find you, one with the
roots, your antler curved like the branches,
hair the gold of yellow ochre fall leaf bower,
buckskin leggings the color of bark, green knit
sweater smelling like basalm, pine needle eyes
that open and shudder with morning grass frost –
I sat down with you in the grove, you showed me
how to become one with the trunk, the flowering
of Yggdrasil, Ratatosk and Nidhogg in their quiet
burrows – you are a part of that tree, Gebo light
as falling leaves, for the gift of the gods flow
down to Midgard, where we revel in the roots, god
and devotee, man and girl, my beloved Shining One,
your frith fruits with compassion, and your sword
was given for love long ago, and service is your
true name, to kindred kith and kin, you tell me
that there is no greater gift than noblesse oblige
forefather of my Yngling clan, Hail the Golden God.

Dancing in the Stars

My gown is golden, like ghee or dandelions, woman clothed in the sun
your hair cinnamon bark, pinned back, smile sunlight on warm water
I am so in love, so at peace, as I princess turn in a starlit ballroom,
pressed against your chest like a secret, the moon is a sailing ship
above us, your eyes are endless pools of emerald depths, your suit
smells like home, sometimes I smell you in waking hours and I cry,
but here we are whole, now we are one, dancing to a phonograph tune
the dance hall is lit with torches, rosewood floors, my heels sparkle,
we tap out a rhythm with our feet, joke, laugh, blossom like a fire,
you have always been so gentle, only harsh when I am in harm’s way,
and though I touch forbidden fire, you are there with a sweet salve,
I lay my head against your stomach, I don’t come up to your breast,
yet I can still hear your heartbeat, how human it makes you, wings
betray divinity, and a crescent halo belies princehood, but you are
never vain, never proud, I asked to dance with you, so we waltzed
all night, quiet and tender, slow-dancing in the fourth heaven, and
the worlds and all their grandeur slowed to a halt, disappeared, just
you and I, the world was our stage, you said, and you would dance with
me until I am old and bent, at which point, you would rock me in your
arms, sing B’shem HaShem, and beckon me on to my next life, carried
into the darkness in the arms of my golden angel, with a part of me
always dancing, right here in your heart, no space between us but a
promise: that you will life me up, be my wings, and together, fly.