Focusing inward
dries up the heart;
dissolves the bones;
until there is nothing left
but a heart of clay
baked to stone,
and a loathsome jelly
which smothers all around.

The cure is a sword in the heart,
a turning of the eyes,
a death of the flesh.
No death without pain,
yet the pain shows life
and not the death of Medusa
a turning to unfeeling stone.

Time, they say, will heal the wound
the grafting of a heart of flesh
in place of heart of stone
and yet
memories as sharp as glass
bring their own dagger-cut
when least expected.
Not yet the salve of time, not yet.
I wait, and wince, and hope.
Some day, the stitches will come out.

-- Kathryn A (December 1998)