My cloak is worn too thin,
the damp gets in.
Footfalls from long ago; another lifetime of mine, of yours; scritch scratch surreptitiously behind me,
not quite keeping pace, without conviction or grace.
When I look there is no one there, the night is empty, and yet~
the back of my neck tells otherwise.
This cloak has worn too thin,
it has lost its billow.
The milk weeds have not yet burst their pods.
Their mission is singular, focused, to their death.
I mean to pluck one, to thwart their noble end, to enter my will upon such a lowly mortal,
gut its unborn seed, occlude its destiny with my own baleful hand,
but the burdock will have none of it.
They catch in my cloak as I lean in to find purchase in the swamp grass.
I will need to pick the burs one by one, needle by hook;
My hem has come undone;
Mother will mend it, dear one.
Trailing roils in the gathering fog 'round my knees,
slow whirlwinds winding with my saunter.
Dog cries crack sharply from the edge of the haze, their urgent reports embogged forthwith
before they reach what distant ears so intended;
dire warning of the impending morning.
I have heard them; I pull my cloak tighter, but it no longer swaddles.
My fingers find a hole, a tear; tattered for wear.
My cloak is worn too thin, and now the end begins.