My too-grey world is on the cusp of Spring, and the ghost of a friend long-gone wakes me with a challenge: “I dare you, woman. I dare you to remember my lips on yours and the cold, loamy mud on your back. Bust open the iron cell you’ve built for the memory of my hands, and let me back inside your Witch’s frigid heart just this once. Give me until sunrise, my love, and I will prove I still exist by licking you open with my spectral tongue.”
I wait, willing myself back into benign dreams of full moons and campfire chaos, but your words, the dead lover’s dare, haunt me enough to keep my eyes open.
“You are nothing,” I say aloud into the dark, and my thoughts turn to sharp-edged weapons.
“You left me years ago, pissing on my fairy-tale fantasies and bidding me farewell with your final breath. You showed me what it was to love in an ancient land and how holy a Maiden’s lonely longing can be. You showed me a warm place to belong, now as rotten as your impermanent flesh, and you set standards so low any devil with a beating heart could dig his horns inside the festering, still-open wounds you left on my soft belly.”
Walking on quivering limbs, I move toward the old record player and bid Billie Holiday drown your disembodied whispers, accented both by distance of death and your sultry brogue, but you press on:
“Tell me you’ve forgotten our trip to the cliff’s edge, when each wave crashed as a harbinger of every thrust and every moan. I’ll leave you be if you can truly say you don’t recall the sweat of my palm on your bare-breasted heart, or how I breathed your name into your neck, or drifting to an uneasy, wine-soaked sleep with the insatiable ache for more only to wake and do it all over and over and over again-“
“Stop!” I crush my hands to my ears and fall to my knees. “I used all the magick I had to lay you to rest. I’ve written you mournful letters and burned them to ash, releasing them into the spirit world with sweet-grass and rose buds. I’ve fallen in love with others because they were everything you were not. They were kind, empathic creatures who lived and breathed with hot blood coursing through their bright blue veins. They were here, and you are gone.”
Enough time passes that I think you have returned to be behind the veil, and I see the petal-pink of morning’s glow edging through the window. I exhale a long breath, and my muscles relax around my bones. Tonight, I will paint the pentagram under my bed and protection sigils on my walls, but, for now, I will sleep on my hard floor as penance for my poor boundaries.
“I never left,” I hear you say, and your lie cuts through my raw ribs like a broad sword swung high and swift. I’ve been waiting and wanting and watching you the whole time. Could a ghost wed a Witch, I would propose here and now.”
I curl tighter into a ball and beg the angels to rescue me from your particular evil, but then I feel the chill of you on my shoulder. Is it your lips or your hand? A woman should know what part of her lover caresses her skin, but I am blind to your shape. I do look, hoping to see a misty shadow or a purposed orb, but my eyes find only the looming dawn and an empty bed.
“You cannot return,” I affirm. “Not as you were. Wait for me in the light if you must, but know I do not wait for you. Perhaps I consumed much space in your too-short life, but our nights together have hardly shaped my world. Leave me now as you left me before; this time I will not weep. You are not welcome in this wild home of mine, and I will not be tempted by a ghost so bold as to wake me from my springtime slumber with nothing but grief to offer. Yes, I remember you. I remember the madness of young lust and our feckless romance. I remember the unbeauteous allure of your musk and unending sex devoid of climax.I remember every promise broken, every morning I chose to wear black in your honor, and every midnight plea made to the Mother-Goddess to strike down the laws of nature and jolt you awake in your grave.”
I sit upright, resolved. “The warm flesh to which I once pressed my lips has pulled back from your teeth and stained your bones. I will love you forever, wayward spirit, but your will has no power here. I cannot commit my soul to a mere memory, and my body yearns for the touch of a warm lover’s skin.”
Feeling your presence no longer, I crush my eyes closed and call your face to mind one last time as the jewel-red sun rises.
“Come to me no more, Lover,” I whisper to the dawn. “Lest I will force myself to forget you and all your wicked majesty.”
Danielle Dulsky is a long-time activist for wild woman spirituality and the divine feminine’s return. She is the author of Woman Most Wild (coming May 2017 from New World Library). A multi-media artist, yoga teacher and teacher trainer, and energy worker, Danielle is on a mission to inspire women to be fearless...