Seeress at Dawn

A poem for Sharon Shinn

Inspired by the Elemental Blessings she drew on March 28th, 2022, precisely 11 hours before this was written

the seeress sleeps on her couch of coins
lumpy pillow, cold, but comfort still
each coin of a thousand etched in blessings
some fresh-minted, most tarnished
a scattering as ghost-worn as she

she wakes, stretches
her skin freshly impressed
with wave, wind, wood
fire and earth
(and also the extraordinary)

before these red marks fade
before this aubade of temporary tattoos
plump themselves forgotten
she takes stock of what must not be taken for granted:
time, triumph, synthesis
the great powers of intellect and integrity
of restlessness, of serenity
soft graces and invisible benisons
the bedrock floating between lake and lava
and steadiness
and breathing

she rises, our seeress
goes about her duty
sore from sleeping on so many bright blessings
raw from such a sound sleep
such a round and cutting sleep
far from the downy comforts of childhood
and the wide mattresses of wilder years
far, even, from the vigil pallet laid down near sickbeds
she rises, leaves her couch of coins
trailing blessings
from the hem of her night rail

after all her many beds
in all her many houses
this is what is left: her temple
bone and blood, breath and thought
and this flesh
that moves more slowly now
deliberate, and with such care
all but bruised with blessings

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