New Moon

there is incense and honey and wine
there is the figure on the altar
glass eyes catching the candleflame
there is music pounding out
the beat while I chant

there is a headbutt against my ankles
warmth, humming thanks
the sense of her in my lap
weight on my legs, claws digging casually
into my calves and I reach out of habit
to scritch and touch nothing
then I understand how long it’s been
since she was actually here

there are arms around my shoulders
heavy, muttering nothings
quiet like she always was, waiting
for me to talk and me not knowing
what to say but it
doesn’t matter anymore
maybe it didn’t then either

doesn’t she look like Blackie
Blackie died when I was a toddler
I don’t remember her but I agree
the weight in my lap readies itself,
jumps higher than she had in years,
is caught by insubstantial arms

I’m so glad you called and
I’m proud of you and too soon
well I’d better be letting you go
I don’t want to let go
but there’s a different hand
on my shoulder now, black marble,
linen-draped, and it’s time

the offerings go to the crossroad
the rain has stopped for the moment
her presence is solid when I begin
and by the end I am alone
I leave her altar bare in the dark

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