Olivia & Hale

This is the legend of a boy and his ghost,
and the girl he was not supposed to cross stars
with.

This is a map whose roads
all lead to myth,
Valhalla of visceral dreams
and Reapers whose screams
volunteer its vistas to
defy deliverance.

This is a song that will
never belong,
a story of the closest
purgatory you could
ever lay
eyes
on.

A challenge left by
death’s talons,
to navigate their mortality;

twenty-eight iterations
of pain,

whether by
bullet or blade, cross
fire or bad aim,
sickness and shame;
a suicide in every name
they make natal.

Dying their cradle in
reincarnates’ graves,
promised a wage of
returning to consciousness in
the age they call home.

If their souls had not broke,
Valhalla said,
O City of
the Dead, on atolls of Hale’s
dread and Olivia’s soft cries.

If you can die exactly
twenty-eight times and not be
divided as such,
upon the twenty-ninth you will
wake by the gulch you first
faded from this
world.

Death be a trickster,
he did not expect the girl,
anticipate her capacity for
love to outweigh
life,
and so
Death took a knife to
her on the twenty-third eve,
a blade of deceit putting young
Olivia to sleep,

into dreams so deep her
Hale forgot she was
ever awake.

Five left to go, but the victory
felt hollow, from the chest his heart
beat down to the
soak in his clothes.

Through wars in the desert to bombs
over Moscow; three final breaths and
time travel would show Hale
its gradual flow.

Two planes ramming
towers, a whole city devoured
and
in nuclear
rainfall, Hale held his
small, original body
at last,
broken and bloody,
beckoning him to the
final task.

To conquer Death himself in
the heart of Valhalla, a body cloaked
in a casket- the
hallelujah pass.

Hale pulled back the mask,
knowing the Reaper’s end would
complete his descent into madness,
anchor his souls and pull him to
the vastness below.

I just want to go home,
he said.

Then plunge the knife in my
throat,
and you will control the
fabric of life and Death itself.

You can harness the heavens
and give hope to the hell fire,
hold harbingers at arm’s reach,
play arbiter to mires.

Sink the knife in, young Hale;
watch all your failures sire gold.

You promised me a child’s body
knowing I would grow too old to
inhabit it,
Hale replied with a
sadness,
and pressed down the dagger.

No longer a shrouded stranger,
but the face of his friend,
her eyes darkening,
Olivia whimpered her last breaths.

And Hale screamed and he held her,
several centuries since then,
one Reaper among millions,
another version of Death.

This is a poem of purgatory
gods don’t acknowledge,
for they often forget how far
some angels have
fallen.

This is a parable
messiahs omit,
and bards never sing of,

because
no good comes from it.

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