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.

Fat Day

These tan curves and gold curls are lies.  I want to take a razor to the slope of my belly and dredge out my intestines.  Beat my brain on the pavement and screw pins into my skin.  Beautiful, they say, but I know I am ugly as the Beast.  That is why we get along so well, because I am the witch that eats men in the woods, seductress, your destruction, and my eyes are pools you will drown in.

I want to feel a gun to the head, just the weight of it against a temple to make gray matter a moon bow on the wall.  I want a razor to carve pretty lies onto my thighs and rest my decapitated head on my lap.  Monster, monster, in the looking glass.  Suicide, matricide, martyr.  I’m the mother of no one, but still they come to me wailing, drink my blood milk, and maybe I’m Babylon and a wild whore strapped between two needfires with albino crows, cawing in song with my children, but on the surface?  You would never know.

I don’t say I’m an enchantress, but there’s the shamanic journeying, the five-fold kiss, the familiars and demons and angels and gods all clashing in my head like the Wild Hunt.  I’ve gone mad, dreamed of drowning, thought of perilous calls as Hati and Skoll chase me through the tundra.  I’ve had the Devil play my organs like the finest of violins and still my music would be better if he snapped my spine instead of caressing it.

Divinity wants to break me open and suck the stars from my marrow.  I rant, I rave, I froth at the mouth – the true Beast is Cipactli, Tiamat, the She-Leviathan, a Mother of the Deep that possesses me to dance with wild abandon.  I will devour all and leave blank snow in my wake, Kelvin zero.  I’m out of control, and today is a day for damnation.

Slut.  Whore.  Temptress.  Jezebel.  Woman Clad in Night.  I will be the Thunder Perfect Mind Sophia, Alpha and Omega as I straddle the corpse of my lover and pound him into the dirt.  I am not sane, I am the mad she-bitch that nursed Managarm, Angrboda of the Iron Woods, consort of chaos but master of the giants that will eat Midgard.

Once I was beautiful, terrible to behold, a blushing Psyche, now I’ve donned the snakes of Medusa and I will rake my serpents through the dirt in bind runes to summon Walpurgisnacht devils from the mountains.  I am Terror, I am Fury, I am Wrath.  Scorn me and face the angel of death, White Reaper riding on the tempest of Satan’s heart, flame sword glory general of the Prince of Heaven.

I see through your ruses.  Your lies.  Your pretty words and cloying compliments.

I know what I am.

I am wild, untamed.

The beast in the forest.

The monster of my disease.

And I will eat you, madman.

All to discover your magic.

Freyr Woos Gerd

I came to you with open palms, a gift
of my sword to your gardens, we met in
Barri Woods, I stripped golden in sun
you silver with shining arms, dear Gerd –
mistress of my heart and my kennings
when I first saw you from Odin’s throne
I knew what it was to die, more than
being cut as the first shaft of barley
come harvest, my rain and bounty are
nothing compared to your Etin grace,
my ship and boar and humble antler just
trappings to adorn our bower of trees,
we were wed then on dewy grass, we took
pleasure in summer sun, echoing fjords,
does and bucks danced in Vanaheim and
the Ljosalfar sang dead elven songs
as we knew each other, became one, you
are my orlog, my wyrd, my life and fate,
and our children are all of men, love
what we reap, my Jotun maiden, seer of
frith and faith, peace and good seasons
you till from my body in the soil, and
together, we blossom into Yggdrasil.

Dream Diary: Adoption

Freyr, Odin, Thor, Loki, Freyja, Skadi, Idunna – the Aesir and Vanir ring me at the Midwinter Festival in Vanaheim, where I make my home in a green-and-red palace built by the twin spirits I am devoted too – the wood and stone and silk dwelling they made for me on the night of my oathing ceremony.

The grass is frosted and sparse and we are in a forested fjord – cranes fly in great Vs across the sky. I am dressed in wolf fur and a buckskin dress with silver and azure embroidery, red paint of crushed yew berry rimming my eyes, and in my hands I hold a long sword. The gods raise their voices in galdr and I drive the blade into the ground – Freyja’s is sweet and sharp, Loki’s song dances with the bonfire we circle, and Odin is deep and earthy.

The cranes cry out and we fall silent.

We share mead in a silver horn and talk of why I am there – family, haminja, orlog – my blood called to them and they came, they came, from my childhood down the years, always there. We reminisce about my journey through marsh and meadow, through volcano and cavern, through ocean and forest. The mead is sweet and tart and we pour the remnants of the horn onto the ground where I have pierced it with my sword, then sprinkle some into the fire.

“Welcome, daughter of the gods,” Freyr, the Bright and Glorious One, says with a voice like honey as he beckons me. How I once thought him an angel is not so confusing, with the gold and fortune that radiates from his skin. He places a necklace of silver and sapphires on my neck and it sparkles like sky and snow.

One by one, I embrace the gods of my Yngling ancestors – of Harald Fairhair and Ragnar Lodbrok, of Aslaug and Brunhilde and the kings of Uppsala who have passed this legacy down onto me.

Loki I hug last. “You are always welcome in my hall. All you have to do is find the door,” he says with a wink, and I laugh.

The cranes reach their roost and Njord prepares our boat. We go to spirit markets on the dark marshes and bargain in souls and wyrd with gypsies and dwarves.

Later, I bring my spirits with me to the Midwinter Festival. Samael and Loki, old friends, drink and reminisce, and Michael lets down his uptight exterior and distrust of other races and for once enjoys himself. We eat roast boar and suckling pig and hearty bread and cheese. Elven dancers perform a Vanic ceremony of season’s turning and we watch, mesmerized.

The fire grows and night creeps up, and I return to my body, the taste of mulled honey on my lips.