What burns in these shadows, in these flames,
these flames more crooked than my shadow?
My shadow burns, the words I whisper
crack in the heat. The moonlight is drenched
by the flames. Tomorrow he is mine.
She, the gentle, foolish one,
prisoner of her father’s greed, sweated
in the airless light of the torches,
wheel spinning empty through her hand
to scatter the straw on the floor.
They curse me in the streets, drive me
into shadows. But I have watched
between the stones, seen the stains
beneath the silk, beneath the rags,
sweat rolling into their mouths.
I am better than them all, for I
who never knew the touch of gentle hands
or kind words sung to comfort me,
will hold my son in gentle arms,
soften my voice to song.
There in the distant forest, alone
but for light we build against the darkness,
all he will know is that my shape
is beautiful, and I a giant
among the creatures of the Earth.
He will be, like the sound of my name,
a secret to these sheltering flames,
a secret from the world and from
the secrets of the world. I who know the darkness
know this light.
The fire burns the past, the mockery.
In the flames I throw the secret of my name.
Born at sunrise with my son, my name,
in the flaming moonlight, burns in the shadows.
She saw, she heard. She hurries
through the forest to the town.
DWARF OF MIDNIGHT