The ground was cold beneath my feet
as I helped you to yours and you propped yourself up
against an unmarked cross.
The frankness of your eager smile,
With clear eyes warm and young and open
Your bobbing head, rhythmic and eager,
as your small toes strained to fill my footsteps.
I wonder, what face I wear to you,
My girl; am I your father? Your sister?
Or some long forgotten fantastical companion of childhood
Who only now do you remember how much you missed.
But this face is my key to the way beyond.
The rays of darkness stroking, soft
with prickling breath and numbing whisper
curled around your curls, my girl;
the undue call of blackest winter.
I smiled at you, as your small hand
Squirmed in my scarred fingers and tugged
me forwards, down the path;
Be patient, child.
With regret behind and fear ahead,
the black parade of shadows lead
through winding lies and crumbling truth;
and yet you followed me, unquestioning.
And Mother War smiled at me,
Smiled at you;
Then, and only then, my dear,
Did you let go of my hand.