Hear, O Desert: I am returning to the place where I was born. Back to the barrow-hills, where scarlet birds nest among the mounds of the dead to claim my bride and ransom her into the land of the living. I shall lay down my ancestral sword, and bare my head before God and the moon I shall prepare a wedding feast with my own two hands bread as flat and round as a silver coin to buy entry into the land of death wine made sweet with the passage of time, poured out on the earth the perfumed fat of young goats to burn in the bone-fire. When the birds roost above me, and look down upon my marriage feast I shall summon forth the wife I have long loved: the drum shall sound my heartbeat, endless repeating the sound of God’s steps dancing the world into being. I shall raise my voice, and sing the song of life which raised the first body from the dust long ago. My hands will crack and open, and by blood prove my devotion. Down she will come from among the towers, my scarlet bird with a woman’s voice and I will dance, red skirts sweeping the mud I have made. For her I will show the pattern of the living, all the things we shall have together: the wind, ours to outrun, the moon, to guide our path, the river, to water our souls the fields of my father, the herds of my mother, all the things we will inherit the life appointed to me by the stars above. Mine, but no more mine alone. And out of love for me, the singing bird, my crimson lover, shall wear a woman’s face to be my wife, a mask pulled from the many shapes of the moon to have a life in flesh once again and return with me to where the living dwell. Hear, O Desert: at dawn, two will leave the place of the dead beneath the sun. I am bringing my wife into the world.
Lev Mirov lives with his wife and fellow writer, India Valentin, and their two cats outside of Washington DC. When not playing a time-traveling medievalist, he can often be found fervently scribbling speculative fiction, fantastical poetry, and gluten-free recipes from around the world. His poetry has also appeared in Liminality Magazine and the forthcoming anthology Angels of the Meanwhile. You can follow his adventures on twitter at thelionmachine.